Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Delhi, with RAdm Gurcharan Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet embarked onboard, arrived at Singapore on May 1, 2023, to participate in the inaugural ASEAN India Maritime Exercise (AIME-2023) scheduled from May 2 to May 8, 2023.

Shared concerns over China

The Harbour Phase of the exercise is scheduled to be held at Changi Naval Base from 2 May to 4 May, 2023, and the Sea Phase will be conducted from 7 May to 8 May, 2023, in the South China Sea.

AIME-2023 will allow the Indian Navy and ASEAN navies to work together closely and conduct seamless operations in the maritime domain.

James Marques, an aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, provided his take on the nation’s relationship: “Singapore and India have pretty close connections as two ex-British colonies finding their place in East Asian politics.

There are some close cultural and social ties, but even where there aren’t, both are concerned about Chinese power.”

These exercises follow on from Singapore hosting maritime activities with China last week. Singapore has maintained its longstanding policy of neutrality and constructive engagement with all countries, including China. 

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GlobalData’s “Singapore Defense Market 2022-2027” report claims that in 2017, India and Singapore signed a co-operation agreement to strengthen the defence ties between their armed forces. These agreements allow the Singaporean military to train and perform firing exercises with its Indian counterpart.

India’s indigenous capabilities to be shown at IMDEX & IMSC

INS Delhi, India’s first indigenously-built guided missile destroyer, and INS Satpura, an indigenously-built guided missile stealth frigate, are a part of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam and function under the operational command of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. 

These ships are fitted with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors.

The IMDEX-23 is a biennial international maritime defence exhibition and conference featuring the latest naval technologies, equipment, and services worldwide.

The conference is a platform for industry experts, government officials, and naval commanders to exchange ideas and discuss the latest trends in maritime security.

The IMSC, on the other hand, is a forum for naval commanders and security experts to discuss and develop strategies to enhance maritime security and combat the growing threats of piracy, terrorism, and maritime crimes.

The AIME-2023 exercise will strengthen India’s maritime cooperation with ASEAN nations, a key pillar of its Act East Policy. Through this exercise, India aims to promote mutual understanding and trust, enhance interoperability, and develop a common approach towards regional maritime security challenges.

The participation of Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Delhi in the inaugural ASEAN India Maritime Exercise (AIME-2023), along with their involvement in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX-23) and International Maritime Security Conference (IMSC), highlights India’s commitment to enhancing its strategic partnership with ASEAN countries and promoting regional peace, stability, and security in the Indo-Pacific region.