Exercise Milan, the largest four-day naval war game hosted by India started on Friday with the participation of 12 navies of the Asia-Pacific region within the context of the Indian Navy's 'Look East' policy and naval interactions to this effect.
Milan is a biennial gathering of navies of the Indian Ocean region and is held for building friendship and mutual understanding between participating navies. This year's multinational exercise takes place from February 5-8 at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Indian Navy has been organising Milan at Port Blair since 1995, and the seventh edition of this exercise this year will see participation of nine naval ships from eight countries and representatives from four others in a tabletop exercises.
The focus of Milan 2010 will be a passage exercise at sea and a seminar on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. This apart, it will promote understanding and cooperation in the areas of common interest and safeguard the sea lanes of communication from poaching, piracy and terrorist activities, promote interoperability to the extent possible and engage in joint search and rescue and humanitarian operations.
The Indian Navy's initiative will also provide opportunities to promote understanding and camaraderie amongst the navies of the Asia-Pacific region and encourages ship visits, social interactions and cultural presentations by the participating countries.
Naval ships of Singapore (two ships), Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar, with representatives from navies of Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand joining Exercise Milan.
Five ships including its largest Landing Ship Tank and a Fast Attack Craft in Exercise Milan are representing the Indian Navy. Indian Coast Guard is also participating with its ships and officers for the exercise.So far, six Milans' have been held, in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2008. The event was not conducted in 2001 and 2005 as, in 2001, as the Indian Navy was hosting a significant international event -the International Fleet Review and in 2005, the region was recovering from the aftereffects of the Tsunami in December 2004.