Recently, the third edition of the trilateral naval exercise Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX 2021) has been conducted in the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean.
- Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette is participating in the 3rd edition of India, Singapore and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX – 21,
- Scheduled from 15 to 16 Nov 21 in Andaman Sea.
- Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) is being represented by RSS Tenacious,a Formidable Class Frigate and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) by His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Thayanchon, a Khamrosin Class Anti-submarine Patrol Craft.
- SITMEX is being conducted annually since 2019, was announced by India at Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2018.
- Aim to enhance mutual inter-operability and imbibing best practices between Indian Navy (IN), RSN and RTN.
- The maiden edition of SITMEX was hosted by IN off Port Blair in September 2019.
- RSN hosted the second edition of the exercise in November 2020. The 2021 edition of the exercise is being hosted by RTN in Andaman Sea.
- The exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 restrictions and highlights growing synergy, coordination and cooperation in the maritime domain between the three friendly navies.
- The two days of maritime drills will witness the three navies engaged in a various tactical exercises including naval manoeuvres and surface warfare drills.
- SITMEX-21 will fortify the long-standing bond of friendship and further enhance the cooperation between the participating navies towards augmenting the overall maritime security in the region.
Other Military Exercises between India and Thailand:
- MAITREE (Army)
- SIAM BHARAT (Air Force)
- Indo-Thai CORPAT (Navy), which was conducted recently.
Other Military Exercises between India and Singapore:
- Bold Kurukshetra (Army)
- Joint Military Training (Air Force)
- SIMBEX (Navy)
Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD)
The IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries, and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states. The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002. The summit serves to cultivate a sense of community among the most important policymakers in the defence and security community in the region. Government delegations have made the best out of the meeting by holding bilateral meetings with other delegations on the sidelines of the conference. While primarily an inter-governmental meeting, the summit is also attended by legislators, academic experts, business delegates, and distinguished journalists.
The participants have included:
Indo-Pacific Region and its Importance
- Indo-Pacific is a “natural region” ranging “from the shores of Africa to that of the America.
- Increasing use of the term Indo-Pacific recognizes India’s influence and role in this region.
- A “stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region” is an “important pillar” of India’s strategic partnership with the United States, Japan, Australia and other countries of the region.
- ASEAN is one of the important player in the Indo-Pacific.
- The US military has renamed its Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command.
- The emphasis shown by the US on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ can be termed as its strategic initiative towards India.
- The Pentagon has already started using the new term in the US official documents, this shows how India can influence international affairs in 21st century and India’s position in USA geopolitics.
- United States, India, Japan, and Australia — the “Quad” group — is emphasizing “Indo-Pacific” as a new strategic space.
India’s role in Indo-pacific region
- India’s “Act East” policy of stepped-up activity with the ASEAN region:
India’s work with the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and a series of regional organizations in which India participates:
- The East Asia Summit,
- ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (the “Plus” includes countries outside of ASEAN)
- ASEAN Regional Forum.
- India’s participation in organizations “bridging South and Southeast Asia”:
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor. Our trade in the region is growing rapidly, and a significant part of our overseas investments flow in this direction. ASEAN alone accounts for over 20%.