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India, Indonesia begin naval exercise


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NEW DELHI (PTI):  India and Indonesia began a three-day mega naval wargame on Monday in the Sunda Strait, in reflection of their growing maritime cooperation.

Officials said the Indian Navy deployed its two frontline warships Shivalik and Kadmatt for the third edition of the exercise 'Samudra Shakti'.

The two ships arrived in Jakarta on Saturday. The Sunda Strait lies between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra.

"The exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship, enhance mutual understanding and interoperability in maritime operations between the two navies," Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

"The exercise will also provide an appropriate platform to share best practices and develop a common understanding of maritime security operations," he said.

Indian Navy's long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I is also participating in the exercise.

In pursuance of India's Act East Policy, exercise 'Samudra Shakti' was conceived in 2018 as a bilateral exercise.

"The exercise has matured in complexity over the last two editions and will involve conduct of complex maritime operations," the Navy spokesperson said.

"Under the extant policies, the 3rd edition of Samudra Shakti exercise is being conducted in a COVID safe environment and seeks to bolster the maritime cooperation between the two navies and forge strong bonds of friendship across the Indo Pacific," he said.

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