Port Blair, Jan 18: 'MILAN', an initiative of the Indian Navy, for interaction among navies of different countries in the Indian Ocean region, is being held here today.
Milan is a biennial conglomeration of Asia-Pacific Maritime Navies at Port Blair to foster bonds of 'Friendship Across the Seas' and share views on common maritime issues. Ships and delegations from Australia, New Zealand, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangaladesh, Vietnam and Brunei are expected to take part.
The event assumes significance in view of the increasing maritime trade in the areas of common interest and need to safeguard the sea-lanes of communications from poaching and terrorist activities.
The event will showcase the beautiful Andman and Nicobar Islands and its rich heritage to the visitors from these countries.
The five-day event will include interaction in the form of a seminar and social interaction during cultural presentations.
Milan 2008 will culminate with a grand city parade off Marina on January 22 consisting of colourful march past by personnel of the Navies, local school children, NCC and police contingents.
It will culminate in a daredevil motor cycle display by the Army, a spectacular aerobatic show by the IAF front line supersonic fighters, Sukhoi-30's, and a breath- taking demonstration and water Para jumps by the Indian Navy's Marine Commandos.
Indian Naval Ships off Port Blair will be illuminated and there would be a dazzling firework display.
The visiting ships and delegates will be given a ceremonial see off on January 23 from the Naval Wharf.
Milan, which was first held in 1995, continued in the years 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2006. The event was not conducted in 2001 and 2005 as, in 2001, the Indian Navy was hosting a significant international event -the International Fleet Review -- and in 2005, the region was recovering from the after- effects of the Tsunami of Dec 26, 2004.