Indian, Singaporean navies hold war game in China’s backyard


New Delhi: The Indian Navy is engaged in a week-long advanced war game with its Singaporean counterpart in the South China Sea, the backyard of giant neighbour China.

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The ‘Simbex’ exercise, which began March 18, is the 18th in a series that began in 1994.

China has claimed most part of the South China Sea as its territory and has a maritime boundary dispute with several countries of the region, including Singapore.

Hosted by Singapore this year, the exercise is witnessing joint naval warfare training involving air, surface and sub-surface dimensions, aimed at enhancing the interoperability and mutual understanding between the two navies, an Indian Navy press release said here Thursday.

“The exercise comprises a shore phase, already held at the Changi Naval Base, and a sea phase currently being carried out in the South China Sea,” the release added.

Singapore is participating in the exercise with three frigates, a missile corvette, a submarine and a maritime patrol aircraft, while its air force will deploy a fighter aircraft. India has sent three destroyers, a corvette, a fleet tanker and a maritime patrol aircraft.

“Simbex started in 1994 as a training-oriented anti-submarine warfare exercise and has since grown in scale and complexity over the years. The exercise underscores the long-standing defence ties between the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Indian Navy,” the release said.

The two navies also interact regularly through a range of activities, including professional exchange programmes, staff talks and courses.