NEW DELHI: The first bilateral naval exercise named “Samudra Shakti” between the Indian and the Indonesian Navies was inaugurated on Tuesday in Surabaya, Indonesia giving further momentum to bilateral strategic partnership. These bilateral naval exercises will be conducted in Java Sea and would last until 18 November.
Rear Admiral Mintoro Yulianto, S.Sos, M.Si, Commander of the Second Fleet Command at Puslatkaprang (from the Indonesian Navy) along with H.E. Ambassador Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Ambassador of India to Indonesia and Rear Adm Alok Bhatnagar, NM, witnessed the opening ceremony at the Headquarters of the Second Fleet Command of the Indonesian Navy. Both sides underscored he importance of increased cooperation between two close maritime neighbours for ensuring maritime safety and security.
The commencement of this bilateral naval exercise marks a significant forward step in the operational engagement between the two navies following the Ind-Indo Corpat which have been ongoing since 2002. INS Rana ( a destroyer class vessel) commanded by Capt Arun Deswal, will be participating from the Indian Navy and from the Indonesian Navy the units participating would include KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda and Maritime Patrol Aircrafts.
The exercise would be held in two phases: the harbour phase and followed by the sea phase. During the harbour phase there will be course deck visits, and discussions between experts in areas of mutual interest including communication inter-operability. During the sea phase, the ships will conduct various activities pertaining to maritime safety and security, including Search and Rescue as well as procedures of investigating and engaging various types of hostile platforms at sea.
In addition to the exercises and operational level engagements, there are regular exchanges and discussion ongoing between experts of the two navies. The scope of training exchanges has also been expanded to include specialised training based on area of interest. The 6th edition of the bilateral army exercise Garuda Shakti was held in Indonesia earlier this year, and discussions are also ongoing for conduct of bilateral Air Force Exercise later next year. Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman had also visited Indonesia from 21-24 October and discusses steps to increase bilateral defence cooperation with Indonesia.
It may be noted that following Prime Minister’s visit to Indonesia in end May, it was decided to upgrade the bilateral relationship to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and both sides had released a Shared Vision for the Indo Pacific Statement, which underscored deepening of maritime cooperation.