Maldives has declined India's invitation to participate in the biennial naval exercise Milan, which starts 6 March, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Tuesday.
Maldives has not not given any reason for the decision, Lanba told reporters on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi.
Navy sources said over 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the exercise. These include Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Vietnam, Thailand, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia.
The Indian military's Andaman and Nicobar Command is going to host biennial multinational naval event 'Milan-2018' at Port Blair from 6-13 March with the underlying theme of "friendship across the seas". The event will see a mix of professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures. The inaugural address will be delivered by Lanba.
The social interactions planned during Milan 2018 include display by Indian Army and navy bands, ship visits and colourful cultural evenings. Several events will be open to the public including displays by sky diving team, Beating the Retreat and naval continuity drill.
Besides fostering cooperation through naval exercises and professional interactions, 'Milan' will also provide an opportunity to the participating navies to nurture stronger ties in dealing with various security challenges. India, the US and several other nations have been pressing for freedom of navigation in the disputed South China Sea.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2018 12:50:08 IST