The 25th edition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled from 10th to 21st November 2018 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
The exercise has been held annually since 1994. Over the years, SIMBEX has progressed beyond its original emphasis on anti-submarine warfare to include elements of maritime security, anti-air and anti-surface warfare.
Complementing India’s ‘Act-East’ policy, there have been a number of agreements and high level visits in the recent past between the two countries. Indo-Singapore bilateral relations have been on an upswing in the recent past. In November 2015, the robust relationship between the two countries was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’.
In June this year, on the side-lines of the Shangri-la Dialogue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore inked many agreements including those under the ‘Defence and Strategic Partnership Sectors’.
Key among them is the ‘Implementation Agreement between Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy concerning Mutual Coordination, Logistics and Services Support for Naval Ships’, Submarines and Naval Aircraft (including Ship borne Aviation Assets) visits. The Implementation Agreement since coming in force has facilitated deployment of naval assets from bases of the other through logistics and services support.
The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX. To mark the historical occasion, both navies are undertaking exercises over an extended geography.
The sea phase of this year’s edition is being conducted under the Command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, NM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, who will take on the mantle of the Commander Task Group.
SIMBEX 2018 will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity. The initial harbour phase will be held at Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 10 to 12 November followed by Sea Phase from 12 to 16 November in the Andaman Sea. The second harbour phase from 16 to 19 November will be held at Visakhapatnam – ‘the City of Destiny’.
The 25th edition will witness a diverse range of exercises at sea ranging from live weapon drills including multiple missile firings, Heavy Weight Torpedo (HWT) and Medium Range Gun/ Anti Submarine Rocket firings; advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises, Submarine Rescue demonstrations; integrated Surface and Anti-Air Warfare (AAW); Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations and Cross Deck Helicopter flying among others.