Indian, Sri Lankan navies begin Slinex 2020: Three-day exercise to highlight 'growing congruence' between two countries

The Indian Navy will deploy anti-submarine warfare corvettes INS Kamorta and INS Kiltan as well as a sizeable number of advanced light helicopters, Chetak helicopter and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft

FP Staff October 19, 2020 15:58:46 IST
Indian, Sri Lankan navies begin Slinex 2020: Three-day exercise to highlight 'growing congruence' between two countries

File image of Indian Navy ships deployed during SLINEX 2019. Image courtesy: Twitter/@indiannavy

The navies of India and Sri Lanka began a three-day military exercise off Trincomalee on Monday, in a show of growing congruence in their strategic interests and operational convergence in the region, officials told PTI.

The eighth edition of the annual SLINEX exercise will feature a series of complex drills, including surface and anti-air weapon firings and cross-deck flying operations, with an aim to further fine-tune the "high degree" of inter-operability between the two navies.

The Indian Navy will deploy anti-submarine warfare corvettes INS Kamorta and INS Kiltan as well as a sizeable number of advanced light helicopters, Chetak helicopter and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft in the exercise. Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, will represent the Indian Navy.

The Sri Lanka Navy will be represented by offshore patrol vessel Sayura and training ship Gajabahu, led by Rear Admiral Bandara Jayathilaka, the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Sri Lanka Navy, according to a report by Hindustan Times. "SLINEX series of exercise exemplifies the deep engagement between India and Sri Lanka which has strengthened mutual cooperation in the maritime domain," an Indian Navy spokesperson said.

An Indian Navy statement said, “SLINEX-20 aims to enhance inter-operability, improve mutual understanding and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies. In addition, the exercise will also showcase capabilities of our indigenously constructed naval ships and aircraft. Surface and anti-air exercises including weapon firing, seamanship evolutions, manoeuvres and cross deck flying operations are planned during the exercise, which will further enhance the high degree of inter-operability already established between the two friendly navies.”

The previous edition of SLINEX was conducted off Visakhapatnam in September 2019. Two Sri Lankan naval ships Sindhurala and Suranimala participated in the bilateral maritime exercise, in which joint drills also included helicopter operations, in the seventh edition that continued till 12 September, 2019.

Sri Lankan Naval ships Sayura and Sagara, which are India-built off-shore patrol vessels, amphibious ship INS Gharial, missile corvette INS Kora and Chetak helicopter from the eastern fleet participated in SLINEX 2017, held from 7 to 14 September.

The Indian and Sri Lankan navies came together last month to render to MT New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC), which had caught fire off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

The Indian Navy has participated in a number of joint maritime exercises in the last few weeks, including a three-day drill with Japanese navy from 26 till 28 September.

Last month, Indian Navy also carried out a two-day mega exercise in the Indian Ocean Region with the Australian Navy that featured a range of complex naval manoeuvres, anti-aircraft drills and helicopter operations.

In July, the Indian Navy carried out a military exercise with a US Navy carrier strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The USS Nimitz is the world's largest warship.

India has expanded its deployment in the Indian Ocean Region with a plethora of warships and submarines following its border row with China in eastern Ladakh, ostensibly to send across a message to Beijing.

With inputs from PTI

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