New Delhi. 01 May, 2016. In consonance with India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and Indian Navy’s constant endeavour to enhance maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat arrived at Brunei on 01 May 16. The ship will participate in the ADMM Plus (ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus) Exercise on Maritime Security and Counter Terrorism(Ex MS & CT) from 01 to 09 May 16.

The Indian Navy has been a regular participant in maritime exercises conducted by the ADMM countries. ADMM Plus Ex MS & CT is a multinational exercise under the aegis of ADMM Plus consortium. The current edition will commence at Brunei and culminate at Singapore, with various drills and exercises in the South China Sea. During the exercise, the Indian Navy would engage with participating navies from Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, China, Japan, Russia, Australia, Republic of Korea and US, through professional interactions in harbour and complex operations at sea.

India has deep historic and cultural linkages with ASEAN countries which have been strengthened in the recent past by vibrant economic engagement and a growing sense of shared maritime destiny. In the recent past, ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest trading partners of India, with bilateral trade showing an upward trend with each passing year. India’s active and positive contribution in numerous ASEAN-led mechanisms, namely the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) as well as India’s support for strengthening of the East Asia Summit (EAS) has often been acknowledged by ASEAN member countries. The establishment of the Indian Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta serves as a testimony of India’s commitment towards ASEAN.

Indian Navy and the navies of ASEAN countries have a mutual interest in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, given our shared maritime security interests. ADMM Plus Ex MS & CT is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding with respect to maritime security issues and streamlining drills on counter-terrorism operations at sea. The participation of INS Airavat aims to bolster India’s ties and enhance inter-operability with the participating navies.

INS Airavat, commanded by Commander Jayant Mahadik, is a Landing Ship Tank (Large), indigenously designed and built at GRSE, Kolkata. The ship was inducted into the Indian Navy on 19 May 09 and has a lift capability of 500 troops, 10 tanks and 11 Combat Trucks, which allows her to be effectively tasked for a variety of missions ranging from amphibious operations to Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). An integral helicopter significantly enhances the capability of the ship.

The participation of INS Airavat in ADMM Plus Ex MS & CT will further strengthen the strong bilateral ties and extensive maritime interactions between India and ASEAN countries as well as contribute significantly to enhancing maritime security in the region.