India to conduct first trilateral naval exercise with Singapore, Thailand
New Delhi, Sep 09: For the first time India will join hands with Thailand and Singapore to conduct a trilateral naval exercise between September 16 and 20. The exercise would be conducted in the Andaman Sea.
This is a major development and India is hoping that next year Malaysia and Indonesia would join in, thus making it a multilateral exercise. The exercise is aimed at ensuring a free shipping flow through the Malacca Straits.
This is crucial since over half the world's shipping trade is conducted through the Malacca Strait. On September 5, the modalities were discussed between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Indonesian counterpart.
The exercise would involve the Indian destroyer, Ranvir. The Singapore frigate and the multi-purpose warship of Thailand will assemble at Port Blair on September 16. After conducting manoeuvres the ships would disburse.
S Jaishankar is currently in Singapore for an interactive session. He said earlier today that the two countries have a very robust defence relationship. We have just completed 25 years of uninterrupted naval exercises, which is the longest that India has with any country in the world.
He also said that in political, strategic as well as economic commercial areas, Singapore has become a fulcrum India's policies. Today, what started as a bilateral relationship is something that has grown very much bigger, he also added.