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India-Singapore naval exercise 'SIMBEX' begins today

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SIMBEX 2009. A File Photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The navies of India and Singapore will hold annual fortnight-long bilateral war game this year, starting on Saturday, in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

"The 2010 edition of the 'SIMBEX' series of annual bilateral exercises between the Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), is scheduled to take place in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal between April 3 and 16," Navy officials said in a press release here.

SIMBEX, an acronym for 'singapore Indian Maritime Bilateral Exercise', was formalised in a bilateral naval cooperation a decade-and-a-half ago when RSN ships began training in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) with the Indian Navy in 1994.

Being the 17th naval war game in the SIMBEX series, the exercise this year would be undertaken in two separate theatres -- initially in the Andaman Sea and then in the Bay of Bengal.

Indian Navy would be represented in the exercise by INS Batti Malv (Fast Attack Craft) and INS Mahish (Landing Ship Tank) from the Andaman and Nicobar Command, destroyer INS Ranvir, tanker INS Jyoti and a submarine from the Eastern Fleet.

Additionally, fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft too would fly out of naval air bases to join the exercise to simulate aerial operations.

Singaporean Navy would participate in SIMBEX with Formidable class frigate RSS Intrepid and Victory class missile corvette RSS Victory.

The Singaporean warships would also be making port calls at Port Blair and Visakhapatnam during the exercise.

Over the years, SIMBEX has reflected a growth in strength, capability and mutual confidence of the two navies and the exercises have graduated from purely training oriented ASW affair to complex manoeuvres involving multiple facets of operations at sea.

"Successive editions of SIMBEX have progressively incorporated a wider range of sea-going serials, ranging from platform specific exercises in damage control and fire fighting, through 'Visit, Board, Search and Seizure' procedures, all the way to complex three-dimensional threat scenarios involving air surface and sub-surface threats," the officials said.

The operational relationship between the two navies has matured to a point where Standard Operating Procedures are well in place on both the sides, they said.

Indian and Singaporean navies share a long standing relationship with regular professional interactions, which include exchange programmes, staff talks and cross attendance at courses.

"SIMBEX is an important outflow of this comprehensive process of bilateral engagement within the maritime domain. It is through these connectivities that the two navies continue to reinforce the strong maritime bridges of friendship and connect our respective nations," a release said.

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