For the first time Indian Navy Warships Head To South China Sea For First-Ever Wargame With ASEAN Countries

Source – Swarajya

Indian Navy Warships Head To South China Sea For First-Ever Wargame With ASEAN Countries, Days After Chinese Defence Minister’s Delhi visit.In a bid to expand military cooperation between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and as a signal to China, Indian Navy ships head to South China Sea to take part in the inaugural edition of ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME) on 2 May.These exercises are coming just days after a meeting between Indian and Chinese Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh and Li Shangfu at the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s (SCO) Defence Minster Meet held between 27-28 April.This was the first visit by a Chinese defence minister to India since the Galwan clash in Eastern Ladakh in June 2020.China considers South China Sea (SCS) as its own backyard and has maritime disputes with every country in the SCS.China is also building artificial islands and military facilities in the disputed waters, raising concerns among neighboring countries and the international community.Naval exercises by the Indian Navy, in an area which China claims as its own sends a strong message to China, especially in the backdrop of the ongoing India-China border standoff.This exercise is expected to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the participating navies and promote a rules-based order in the South China Sea, which is crucial for ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.The Indian Navy Chief Admiral, R Hari Kumar is also visiting Singapore for the exercise to participate in International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX-23) and International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC) being held in Singapore.Meanwhile, the Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will head to Maldives for a three-day visit, while the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari is visiting Sri Lanka for a four-day visit.INS Satpura and INS Delhi with Rear Admiral Gurcharan Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding-Eastern Fleet “… arrived in Singapore on 1 May to participate in the inaugural AIME-2023,” the Navy said in a statement.“AIME-2023 will provide an opportunity for Indian Navy and ASEAN navies to work closely and conduct seamless operations in the maritime domain,” the statement added.The ‘Harbour Phase’ of the exercise will take place from 2-4 May at Changi Naval Base followed by the ‘Sea Phase’ on 7-8 May in the South China Sea. In addition, the ships will participate in IMDEX-23 and IMSC while docked in Singapore.International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX), is a naval and maritime conference, started in 1997.The IMSC, on the other hand, is a platform for navy chiefs, coast guard director-generals, policy makers, strategic thinkers, and maritime stakeholders to enhance and foster mutual security in the maritime commons.It is organised by the Singapore Navy and RSIS (S Rajaratnam School of International Studies) since 2009, This conference is conducted every two years.


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