Singapore Current Affairs - 2019

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1st India, Singapore, Thailand Trilateral Naval Exercise begins

The maiden Trilateral Naval exercise involving Indian Navy (IN), Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thailand Navy (RTN) commenced at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The five-day exercise will be held from 16 to 20 September 2019.

About India, Singapore, Thailand Naval Exercise

Background: This Trilateral naval exercise was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address at Shangri-La dialogue in June 2018. The Initial Planning Conference (IPC) to discuss modalities of exercise was held in May 2019 and Final Planning Conference (FPC) was held in August 2019. Earlier, Malaysia has also showed interest in joining exercise.

Objective: To bolster maritime inter-relationships amongst India, Thailand and Singapore as well as to contribute significantly towards enhancing the overall maritime security in the region.

Under the ambit of this exercise

RSN Tenacious of Singapore (a guided missile stealth frigate) and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi (a guided-missile frigate of Thailand Navy) would exercise with Indian Naval Ship INS Ranvir (a guided-missile destroyer), INS Kora (a missile corvette) and Sukanya (an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)) along with P8I Long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Harbour phase: During the harbour phase scheduled at Port Blair, professional exchanges, sports fixtures, and cross deck familiarisation visits would be organized.

Sea phase: It will be held from 18-20 September. Also, a host of surface and air operations that involves gunnery, communication drills and force protection measures would be conducted thus, providing experience gaining and learning from one another’s best practices.

The exercise would strengthen interoperability and development of a common understanding of procedures. Also, apart from fostering cooperation, the trilateral exercise would provide an opportunity to participating navies to come together in a spirit of collaboration to nurture stronger ties.

AUMX: 1st ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise begins

The first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) between regional bloc- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and United States kicked off at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand.  The five day naval exercise is co-led by the navies of US and Thailand. It will stretch into international waters in Southeast Asia, including Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea and conclude in Singapore.

AUMX 2019

It will see participation of navies of all 10 members of ASEAN (Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) and US. 8 warships, 4 aircraft and more than thousand personnel from US and 10 ASEAN countries are taking part. Navies of these countries will take part in the naval exercises which include boarding of target vessels to simulate search and seizure.

Significance

This mega maritime exercise comes at a time of stepped-up US engagement in region and tensions between China, US and Southeast Asian nations over South China Sea (SCS). China is claiming its sovereignty over much of SCS by invoking its so-called nine-dash line as supposed historical justification to the waters, which are key global shipping route. Its claim is overlapping parts of SCS are claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines.