South-east Asia Current Affairs - 2020

DanX: Defence of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Exercise

The second edition of the Defense of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 2019, a large joint exercise was conducted by the ANC (Andaman and Nicobar Command) between October 14 and October 18, 2019. Mobilisation and Field manoeuvres were carried out by the Indian Army, Coastal Guard, Air Force and Indian Navy to validate defensive plans of the ANC.

Apart from the forces of ANC the newly formed AFSOD (Armed Forces Special Operation Division) and accretional forces from the mainland comprising ships and aircraft also participated in the exercise.

ANC-Andaman and Nicobar Command

The command was created in 2001. It is the first and only tri-service command of the Indian Armed Forces based at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was created to safeguard India’s interests in Strait of Malacca and in South East Asia. The ANC provides logistics and administrative support to Indian ships that are deployed in East Asia and Pacific Ocean.

AFSOD-Armed Forces Special Operation Division

It is the tri service of Indian Armed Forces. They carry out special operations. It draws personnel from all the three special warfare branches. The special warfare branches are organized, trained and equipped using unconventional tactics and techniques.

Special Forces of India

The special Forces of India are trained and equipped to conduct and support special operations. The branches of the Indian Special Force units include

  • The Para SF of the Indian Army
  • Commando Force of Indian Air Force
  • Part of the forces are also deputed in AFSOD
  • Special Group of the Research and Analysis Wing

SIMBEX-2019: scheduled from 16 May to 22 May 2019

After the completion of naval exercise IMDEX-19 recetly, the Kolkata Class Destroyers Indian Naval ships namely INS Kolkata and INS Shakti are participating in SIMBEX-2019.

Key Highlights

  • About: SIMBEX (Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise) is an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and Singapore. It is being held from 16 May to 22 May 2019.
  • Background: SIMBEX was first initiated in 1993, since then it has become an annual affair. Over the years it has grown in operational and tactical complexity as well as from traditional anti-submarine exercises to more complex maritime exercises. It undertakes anti air or anti surface practice firings, air defence operations, advanced tactical exercises, etc. It has stood test of time in demonstrating commitment between India and Singapore in enhancing maritime cooperation between their navies and bolstering bonds of friendship between the two countries.
  • Objective: To aim to enhance interoperability, strengthen mutual trust, and build greater synergy to address common maritime concerns among both navies.

About SIMBEX-2019

  • For SIMBEX 2019, the Indian Navy has deployed its finest assets Kolkata Class Destroyers (INS Kolkata and INS Shakti).
  • Objective: to extend bridges of friendship through maritime, economic, and cultural interactions with countries of east and south-east Asia (SEA).
  • It will be conducted in Two Phases:
  1. Harbour Phase– will be conducted from 16 to 18 May. It included various planning conferences, deck reception, courtesy calls to dignitaries of RS Navy, simulator based warfare training (war-gaming) and sporting events all onboard INS Kolkata.
  2. Sea Phase– is scheduled from 19 to 22 may 19. It will be conducted in the South China Sea (SCS). It will include various maritime combat exercises like advanced aerial tracking, firing on aerial or surface targets, tactical exercises on surface or air scenarios and coordinated targeting exercises.
  • Participation: Along with INS Shakti and INS Kolkata, Poseidon-8I (P8I) (Indian long range maritime patrol aircraft) will also participate. From Singapore side, Royal Singapore Navy (RSN) Ships RSN Steadfast and RSN Valiant, Fokker-50 (F-50) (maritime patrol aircraft) and F-16 fighter aircraft will participate.
  • Significance: SIMBEX-19 will also conclude two month long deployment of INS Kolkata and INS Shakti in South and East China Seas where they recently participated in International Fleet Review (IFR) at Qingdao, China (as part of PLA (Navy) 70th anniversary celebrations) and in ADMM-plus MS FTX (The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting – Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise).