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Indian Navy to host mega military wargame in February, 50 navies set to participate

NEW DELHI (PTI): India will showcase its increasing maritime prowess at a nine-day mega naval exercise it will host in February that is set to see participation of over 50 countries against the backdrop of increasingly fractious global geopolitical environment and China's increasing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific.

Navies from the US, Japan, Australia, France, Bangladesh, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia are set to be among the participating nations in the 'Milan' exercise to be conducted off Visakhapatnam from February 19 to 27 next year, officials said on Friday.

The upcoming exercise will be the biggest multilateral military wargame to be hosted by India ever and it will feature large-force manoeuvres, advanced air defence operations, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface drills, they said.

It is learnt that all key participating nations will send their platforms and personnel for the wargame that will take place in the Arabian Sea. The drills would also feature in sub-surface and air domains.

The Milan is a biennial multilateral naval exercise which was initiated by the Indian Navy in 1995.

Originally conceived in consonance with India's 'Look East Policy', the exercise expanded in ensuing years with New Delhi's 'Act East Policy' and Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) initiative.

In 2022, 39 countries participated in Milan exercise.

"The Milan 2024 is likely to witness the largest-ever participation to date with invites being extended to over 50 countries," Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

He said it will be an action packed exercise featuring a wide-range of activities.

The harbour phase of Milan will consist of maritime seminars, exhibition and city parade.

"Maritime patrol aircraft and submarines of friendly foreign countries would participate in the sea phase along with Indian Navy units," Commander Madhwal said.

"They will involve large-force manoeuvres, advanced air defence operations, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare operations," he said.

"The run-up to Milan is concomitant to India's G20 Presidency and the conduct of the exercise would yet again realise the 'G20 theme Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' (The world is one family)," the Navy spokesperson said.

A mid-planning conference on Milan was hosted by the Eastern Naval Command on October 17 with participating friendly foreign navies.

In the virtual conference, representatives of invited countries were briefed on events planned during the harbour phase and sea phase.

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