India, Singapore begin sea drills

Missile and torpedo firings to be part of this year’s bilateral naval exercise
The 25th edition of the India-Singapore bilateral naval exercise, SIMBEX, has begun at the tri-services command in Port Blair.The exercise, which kicked off on Saturday off the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, will conclude on November 21.
Launched in 1994
“Started as basic Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises in 1994, today these exercises have graduated to complex maritime combat drills, including missile and torpedo firings, and shore-based intensive professional exchanges,” the Navy said in a statement. Seven ships from the Indian Navy and five ships from the Singapore Navy along with an Archer class submarine and a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle will take part in the exercise. Maritime patrol aircraft of both countries, P8I of Indian Navy and Fokker F50 from Singapore, will also take part. The number of missiles and torpedo firings being undertaken are in fact unprecedented and perhaps the largest the Indian Navy has undertaken with any foreign Navy till date, the Navy added.
Logistical support
The two countries have vastly expanded their military cooperation in recent years under India’s Act East policy. Late last year, the two countries signed a naval agreement which has a provision for mutual logistical support and gives India access to the Changi naval base. India and Singapore are working on a trilateral exercise with an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) country, likely Thailand, and eventually plan to scale it up to a multilateral format.
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