Indian warships touch base in Singapore ahead of joint drill for RSN’s 50-year anniversary

Indian Navy warship INS Sahyadri arrived at Changi Naval Base of Singapore today to take part in the Asia-Pacific Maritime Defence Show that will coincide with the 50-year anniversary celebrations of the Royal Singapore Navy (RSN).

Flagship of Eastern Fleet INS Sahyadri entering Singapore harbour.
Flagship of Eastern Fleet INS Sahyadri entering Singapore harbour. Photo courtesy: Indian Navy

The Shivalik-Class frigate INS Sahyadri entered the Singapore harbour with Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF) Rear Admiral B Dasgupta and Indian ambassador to Singapore Jawed Ashraf on board.

"India is honoured to [participate] in Royal Singapore Navy's 50 years International Maritime Review with Navy Chief and two ships, defence expo with defence companies and exercise with four ships and P81 aircraft," Ashraf said on his official Twitter handle.

The ambassador welcomed the Indian flotilla which is scheduled to stay around for 12 days to participate in joint drills with the RSN in the Malacca Straits.

INS Sahyadri is scheduled to be followed by the corvette INS Kamorta and Boeing P-8I anti-submarine and maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Changi naval base will host over 30 warships, vessels and submarines from over 20 participating navies.

According to reports, the event will be attended by Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba. Some top Indian defence companies such as Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Goa Shipyard, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited, Ordnance Factory Board, Brahmos, and Larsen and Toubro are scheduled to participate in the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) to explore business opportunities.

This high profile India-Singapore event has followed the visit of Singapore naval ship RSS Formidable at Visakhapatnam on October 30 last year as a part of SIMBEX-16, the bilateral naval exercise between the two navies at Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command today.

Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which form part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi. SIMBEX is an acronym for ‘Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises’. Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994. The two navies share a long-standing relationship with regular professional interactions that include exchange programs, staff talks and training courses.

Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF) Rear Admiral B Dasgupta and Indian ambassador to Singapore Jawed Ashraf on board INS Sahyadri
Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF) Rear Admiral B Dasgupta (right) and Indian ambassador to Singapore Jawed Ashraf (left) on board INS Sahyadri Photo courtesy: Indian Navy

India and Singapore have entered into a defence pact signed by then Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister for Defence of Singapore Dr Ng Eng Hen last year. The pact, inter alia, envisages cooperation in industrial production segment as well.

India and Singapore have been cooperating in various areas in the defence sector with the objective of enhancing bilateral defence relations between the two countries and to learn from each other’s capabilities and experiences. The pact also includes regular bilateral Defence Ministers’ Dialogue, exchange of high level visits, institutionalised mechanisms of interactions, cooperation in the area of co-production and co-development, maritime security cooperation, joint military training and exercises, cooperation in search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

India-Singapore relations date back to Cholas who are credited with naming the Island and establishing a permanent settlement. In modern times, India was amongst the first countries to set up diplomatic relations after the independence of Singapore in 1965. The present engagements between the two countries span regular high level interactions including comprehensive defence cooperation.

 

Author
Pradeep Rana
Pradeep Rana – Senior Correspondent

Pradeep Rana has worked as a journalist with news ​agencies UNI and PTI, newspapers Indian Express and The Times Of India, and television channel NHK as South Asia Correspondent. He has also worked as Media Analyst at US Embassy, and edited several magazines and a medical handbook.

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