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The Indian Navy and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) have completed an annual joint naval exercise, codenamed Singapore-Indian Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) 2012, off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in the Bay of Bengal.

The sea phase of SIMBEX 2012 was held from 21 March to 01 April 2012 and involved participation from naval and air assets from both the countries.

The Indian Navy’s destroyer, a corvette, a replenishment tanker, two fast attack crafts, a frigate and a submarine participated alongside a RSN frigate and a missile corvette in the exercise.

The exercise also involved maritime patrol aircraft and naval helicopters from both RSN and the Indian Navy to conduct air surveillance and simulated aerial attacks.

Over the years, SIMBEX exercise has transformed from training-oriented anti-submarine warfare exercises to advanced naval warfare exercises that involve air, surface and sub-surface missions.

Hosted by India, SIMBEX 2012 is the 19th in the series of bilateral exercises that have been held between both nations since 1994.

During the SIMBEX 2010, the Indian Navy’s Rajput-class destroyer INS Ranvir, the landing ship tank INS Mahish, the patrol craft INS Batti Malv, the tanker INS Jyoti and a submarine participated alongside RSN’s Formidable-class multi-role stealth frigate RSS Intrepid and the missile corvette RSS Victory.

The two countries also regularly interact through several exhibitions, conferences, seminars and also frequently conduct exchange programmes in staff courses and training activities, besides conducting joint wargames.

In 2003, the two nations signed a defence co-operation agreement for expanding military cooperation, conducting joint military training, developing military technology and achieving maritime security.

Image: RSN and Indian Navy sailors interacting with each other during a cross-deck visit. Photo: MINDEF.