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Navies of India, Singapore explore ways to boost cooperation

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Admiral Sunil Lanba interacting with his Singaporean counterpart Lai Chung Han in the presence of naval officials from both sides in Singapore on Sunday. Indian Navy photo/Twitter

SINGAPORE (PTI): Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Sunday held extensive talks with his Singaporean counterpart Lai Chung Han and explored ways to further step up maritime cooperation between the two countries.

Lanba arrived in Singapore on Sunday to participate in an event Monday to commemorate 50 years of the Singaporean Navy and witness a mega exercise between the navies of the two countries.

Four warships of the Indian Navy and long range anti-submarine warfare aircraft P-8l would be part of the exercise with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The aim of the exercise is to enhance and expand coordination between the two navies in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

In their talks, Lanba and Lai touched upon a number of issues concerning maritime security and deliberated on ways to boost cooperation between the two navies.

Admiral Lanba will be attending the International Maritime Review (IMR) on Monday, an event being organised by the RSN to celebrate its 50th years of establishment. The event is being attended by navy chiefs of at least 30 countries.

He will also attend the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) 2017.

"Besides attending the IMR and IMDEX 17, the visit aims to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues," Indian Navy spokesperson Captain D K Sharma said.

Indian naval ships Sahyadri and Kamorta have also arrived in Singapore to participate in the IMR and IMDEX.

Defence cooperation between India and Singapore is on an upswing in the past few years. India has signed a defence cooperation agreement with Singapore in 2003, which was renewed in 2015.

The Indian Navy and Singapore Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a multilateral maritime cooperation forum, conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008.

Both the countries have been conducting the bilateral exercise 'SIMBEX' (Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise) since 1994. The latest edition of the exercise is scheduled to be conducted off Singapore from May 18 to 24.

Warships from both the countries regularly visit each other's ports.

The last visit by the Chief of the Naval Staff to Singapore was by then Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan in 2015.

Singaporean Navy chief Lai had last visited India in February 2016.

"Singapore share similar maritime challenges such as coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both navies have opportunities to learn from each other's experiences. In addition, ground exists for cooperation on a number of issues common to both navies," said Sharma.

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