/Eye on China? India-Indonesia navies to have first-ever bilateral exercise Samudra Shakti

Eye on China? India-Indonesia navies to have first-ever bilateral exercise Samudra Shakti

In line with government’s `Act East Policy’ INS Rana at Surabaya will participate in the first ever Indian Navy – Indonesian Navy Bilateral Exercise ‘ Samudra Shakti’.

The India-Indonesia relations has been elevated to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ earlier this year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited that country. Besides the maritime security, defence co-operation has been a significant pillar in this partnership.

As Indian Ocean littoral neighbours, both countries have been working towards deepening their military ties. Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed to address maritime concerns of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

INS Rana of the Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam under the Eastern Naval Command is on deployment to South East Asia and arrived at the port of Surabaya to participate in the inaugural exercise between the two navies starting Nov 12-18 ‘Samudra Shakti’.

According to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy Capt DK Sharma, “The aim of the exercise is to strengthen bilateral relations, expand maritime co-operation, enhance interoperability and exchange best practices.”

The exercise has started with a Harbour Phase encompassing planning and briefing on various activities, professional interactions, cross deck visits, sports fixtures and social interactions. Then from Nov 16 it would progress to a Sea Phase scheduled and would include operations such as Joint Manoeuvres, Helicopter Operations, Surface Warfare exercise, ASW exercise and Anti Piracy exercises.

The visit of the ship seeks to promote India’s solidarity with Indonesia towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between the navies of the two nations.

As part of its Strategic Relations, India has offered to train sailors from Indonesia in submarine operations in an effort to boost maritime security cooperation.

Leaders of both countries want their countries to emerge as major maritime powers to ensure a stable maritime order in the region, as India is concerned about the security of the sea lanes of communication in the larger Indo-Pacific, Indonesia on the other had concerns about Chinese maritime activities near the Natuna islands.