Those invited include countries from South East Asia like Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia as well as Indian Ocean littoral states.
For the first time the US is expected to participate in the biennial Ex Milan which is expected to take place in February 2022 in Visakhapatnam. This means all the QUAD members are going to be part of the naval exercise in which more than 40 navies are expected to come. “Several countries out of the 46 invited have sent in their confirmation,” confirmed a senior officer to Financial Express Online. Those invited include countries from South East Asia like Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia as well as Indian Ocean littoral states
During the 10th edition of the naval drill in 2018, there were participation of 20 ships from other countries, and in 2020, 41 countries were invited to participate and 30 had confirmed, but it was cancelled due to the global shutdown due to pandemic of Coronavirus.
Between 2018-2021 the Indian Navy has increased its engagement with friendly navies as well as in the Indo-Pacific region. “Keeping in mind its operational requirements and relationships with countries, the Indian Navy has been engaging at the bilateral, trilateral as well as multilateral levels with other navies,” explained a senior officer.
As reported earlier, India has had naval drills at trilateral level with Singapore and Thailand in 2019 and is considering the inclusion of Indonesia in it.
Ex-Malabar is held with the navies of India, the US, Australia and Japan deploying their aircraft carriers as well as submarines.
For the first time Ex-Milan is going to take place at Visakhapatnam, this was decided in 2020, under the Eastern Naval Command. It will be in two phases: the Harbour Phase where maritime security and sharing solutions will be discussed and this will be followed by the Sea phase. The exercise with almost 40 navies participating will be more focused on simulation of complex operational scenarios, tactical maneuvers and multi-national groupings with seamanship drills.
According to the Indian Navy each event which will take place during the drill will be aimed at honing the skills of planners, operators, executors, and maintainers, responsibilities and authority onboard a warship. During the Table Top exercises the crews of the participating ships will get an opportunity to have discussions with their international counterparts.
India has over the past few years inked a series of logistics support and white shipping agreements with several countries to improve the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), and to improve the logistics of the armed forces as well as operational turnaround.
Countries expected to participate:
GCC countries: Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain & Saudi Arabia.
From the neighbourhood: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, South Korea, Cambodia among others.
QUAD & AUKUS member countries: The US, the UK, Japan, Australia.
African nations: Mozambique, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tanzania, Comoros and others.
Other countries like France, Russia, Brunei and many other navies are expected.