India, Thailand Conduct Inaugural Bilateral Maritime Exercise
In December 2023, the Indian Navy and Royal Thai Navy conducted their first ever bilateral maritime exercise. The four-day event was held from December 20 to 23.
Indian, Thai Ships Participate
Indian Naval ships Kulish and LCU 56 took part, both indigenously built. Thailand was represented by patrol ship HTMS Prachuap Khiri Khan. The coordinating patrol Indo-Thai CORPAT was also held alongside.
The Indian naval ship INS Kulish, currently in active duty, belongs to the Kora-class of corvettes. Ordered in October 1994 and with its keel laid in October 1995, Kulish was launched in August 1997 before being commissioned into service on August 20, 2001.
As the third of the four vessels designed under Project 25A for the Kora-class corvettes, Kulish is equipped with P-15 Termit anti-ship missiles and Strela-2 surface-to-air missiles. She represents part of the offensive and defensive capabilities the Indian Navy possesses to protect national maritime interests.
IN LCU L-56
The Indian Navy ship IN LCU L-56 is the sixth vessel in the Landing Craft Utility MK IV class of amphibious ships. Its main role is transporting and deploying Main Battle Tanks, armoured vehicles, troops and equipment from sea to shore. As an amphibious warfare ship, LCU L-56 has the capability to conduct seaborne assaults and support land operations. The ship will be based in Port Blair as part of the Naval Component Command under the Andaman and Nicobar Command. With its shallow draft enabling beaching, LCU L-56 strengthens the Indian Navy’s amphibious capabilities and littoral warfare operations.
Air Forces Join Maritime Drills
Maritime patrol aircraft from both countries participated in the sea phase of the joint exercise. Surface ship anti-air exercises were conducted with weapon firing and naval maneuvers.
Growing Regional Naval Ties
As part of India’s SAGAR vision of maritime growth and security for the region, its navy is actively engaging Indian Ocean countries. These inaugural navy drills with Thailand highlights growing bilateral naval cooperation.
Building Operational Bonds
Conducting the maiden bilateral exercise and patrols together has enabled both navies to strengthen operational ties and progressively increase exercise complexity for the future.
Historic Cities Inspire Drill Name
The India-Thailand naval exercise has been aptly named “Ex-Ayutthaya” after two ancient cities – Ayodhya and Ayutthaya – which represent the deep cultural links and shared history between the nations.
Category: Defence Current Affairs