A trilateral naval exercise involving Singapore, India and Thailand is being conducted in the Indian Ocean from 15 to 16 November.

The Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX) 21 exercise is taking place in the Andaman Sea.

It features the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) Formidable-class frigate RSS Tenacious and the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) Khamrosin-class anti-submarine patrol craft HTMS Thayanchon.

The Indian Navy is being represented by the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk missile corvette in the exercise.

The RTN is hosting the two-day exercise, which is the third edition of SITMEX.

SITMEX-21 will include a number of tactical training drills between the three navies such as naval manoeuvres and surface warfare exercises.

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According to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ drill due to restrictions in place to contain the spread of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

SITMEX has been held each year since 2019 to help improve maritime relationships and interoperability between the three countries.

The first SITMEX exercise took place in September 2019 at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This lasted five days and was hosted by India.

RSN hosted the second edition, SITMEX 20, last November.

In a separate development, Thailand and India’s navies have conducted the 32nd edition of the India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) from 12 to 14 November.

INS Karmuk and HTMS Tayanchon took part in the CORPAT along with the two navies’ maritime patrol aircraft.

The Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre (SMCC) is currently developing a ‘next-generation sense-making system’ to allow Singapore to detect maritime security (MARSEC) threats as early as possible.

The system will use live links to databases of national MARSEC agencies, as well as information gathered from shipping industry stakeholders, to detect and flag out vessels showing suspicious behaviour in real-time.