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Navies from Asia-Pacific region to gather at Port Blair for 'Milan-2014'

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PORT BLAIR (PTI): 'Milan-2014', a biennial congregation of navies of the Asia-Pacific region will be held at Port Blair from February 4 to 9 with the underlying theme of 'Friendship Across the Seas', a Navy spokesman said here Wednesday.

Professional interactions during Milan-2014 would encompass sharing of views and ideas on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Search and Rescue (SAR) operations at sea, spokesperson of the Andaman Nicobar Command said.

"Milan basically is a biennial conglomeration of Asia-Pacific maritime navies, hosted by the Indian Navy, to foster bonds of 'friendship across the seas', boost interoperability and share views on common maritime issues.

From four navies in 1995, it has grown to include 14 navies in 2012," he said.

An important priority in the Asia-Pacific region is protection of sea lanes around the Malacca Strait since around 60,000 ships sail through it every year, transporting around 30 per cent of the world trade in goods.

For India, the stakes are high, with the strategic Andaman and Nicobar Islands dominating the approaches to the Malacca Strait.

A seminar on 'Maritime Co-operation for HADR Operations' has been planned.

A professional display of the Rapid Action Medical Team of the Indian Air Force on the sidelines of Milan-2014 would showcase the robust air-borne medical capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces, defence sources said.

Several events including demonstrations by a sky diving team, motor cycle dare devils, marital arts and canine demonstration by the local police have been planned to mark the occasion, the spokesman said.

An international city parade would also be held along the Marina Park Road with marching contingents from all participating foreign navies, as well as the Indian Armed Forces, a flypast and aerobatic display by military aircraft and demonstrations of various military operations, he said.

The visiting foreign ships will also be open for public visits. Milan-2014 will culminate with a PASSEX or Passage Exercise at sea by all participating naval ships, the spokesman added.

14 countries had participated in Milan-2012, including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

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