The nine-day India-led multilateral naval exercise MILAN 2022 has commenced in the Bay of Bengal, on 25 February.  

The US Navy joined navies of India and other countries to participate in the exercise.

MILAN 2022 is being held in two phases, with the harbor phase scheduled from 25 February to 28 February and the sea phase from 1 March to 4 March.

The theme of this year’s edition is ‘Camaraderie – Cohesion – Collaboration’.

It focuses on enhancing professional interaction between navies, boosting operational skills, and learning best practices and procedures.

A biennial multilateral naval exercise, MILAN was started by the Indian Navy in 1995 at Andaman and Nicobar Command. 

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In 1995, the exercise had seen participation of four countries. Now, more than 40 countries take part in MILAN, including Bangladesh, Australia, Indonesia, France, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Thailand, UK, US, and Vietnam.

This is the first time that the US Navy is participating in the MILAN exercise.

US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, are participating in this year’s multinational exercise.

USS Fitzgerald commanding officer Commander David Catterall said: “Milan provides an opportunity for like-minded navies that sharing a common vision of a more stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, to operate and train alongside one another.

“We are grateful for India’s hosting this important event and their efforts to harmonize our contributions to the region and look forward to ensuring future engagements to build strong alliances and partnerships.”

According to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the latest edition of MILAN focuses on exercises at the sea, surface, sub-surface, air domains and weapon firings.

MILAN 2022 also features operational conferences and seminars on maritime security. 

The two phases of the event focus on maneuvering drills, tactical training, communications drills, submarine familiarisation, air-defense exercises, multinational replenishment-at-sea, gunnery exercise, and joint warfighting scenarios.

Meanwhile, last week, the US Navy’s warships took part in a bilateral maneuvering and communication exercises with Italian Navy aircraft carrier ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi (C551).

The US Navy’s Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) and guided-missile destroyers USS Forest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) took part in the exercises.