New Delhi: India and Singapore have carried out a mega naval wargame in the southern fringes of the South China Sea over the last three days, in reflection of their growing congruence of interests in the strategically key region.
The Indian Navy deployed its guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan and guided-missile corvette INS Kora and one P8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft for the ‘SIMBEX’ exercise from September 2-4, officials said.
The Singapore Navy was represented by formidable class frigate RSS Steadfast, victory class missile corvette RSS Vigour, one Archer class submarine and one Fokker-50 maritime patrol aircraft, they said.
Four F-16 fighter aircraft of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) also participated in the exercise during the air defence drills.
It was the 28th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX).
Iitiated in 1994, SIMBEX is the Indian Navy’s longest uninterrupted bilateral maritime exercise with any foreign navy.
“Sustaining the continuity of this significant engagement despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic further underscores the strength of bilateral defence ties,” Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
“Despite these constraints during the planning stages, both navies could achieve seamless and safe execution of several challenging evolutions including live weapon firing and advanced naval warfare serials, including anti-submarine, anti-air and anti-surface warfare drills,” he said.
Commander Madhwal said the scale and complexity of the drills is a “testimony” to the interoperability achieved between both Navies.
“This year’s edition of SIMBEX is also a special occasion as it takes place during the ongoing celebrations of the 75th year of India’s independence,” he said.
“The success of SIMBEX-2021 is yet another demonstration of the mutual resolve on both sides to strengthen the bilateral partnership further in the years ahead,” he added.
India-Singapore defence ties remain a very significant aspect of the overall engagement between the two countries.
Both navies have a representation in each other’s Maritime Information Fusion Centres and have also recently signed an agreement on mutual submarine rescue support and coordination.