Milan-2008 begins in Andaman Islands

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Port Blair, Jan 18 (UNI) Milan-2008, the biggest congregation of the littoral Navies of the Bay of Bengal and Asia Pacific, began in Andaman and Nicobar Islands today.

The biennial event hosted by Andaman and Nicobar Command, will continue till January 23 in the capital city of the islands.

The mega event, conceived by the Indian Navy, signifies a meeting or coming together of ships from littoral Navies, which would showcase the nation's growing strategic influences in the Indian Ocean region, Andaman and Nicobar Command PRO Lieutenant Mannu Virk told UNI today.

According to a release, several foreign navies would participate in the event, including Australia to be represented by Capt L V H Rixon, Cdr Patrol Sqn, Commanding Officer of the visiting warship HMAS Maitland.

New Zealand would be a first time participant in Milan with Cmde Tomy Pan representing the Country. Myanmar Naval Ship VMS Bayintnaung and Cmde Myo Myini Than would represent the country.

A team of delegates from Vietnam would be headed by Sr Capt Nguyen.

Other countries to participate in the six-day event are Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Exercise interaction on processional and current issues, a city parade and ceremonial cultural, social and sporting events would be a part of the function.

Milan, the Hindi word for 'tryst' has found encouraging response over the years and been an effective forum to discuss common concerns in the Indian Ocean Region and help forge co-operation initiatives.

So far, five MILANs have been held between 1995 and 2006.

UNI SKR PP KLC1616

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