The Indian Navy’s multilateral exercise Milan 2022 is set to be organised in two phases from February 25 in Visakhapatnam.
It will be conducted over a duration of nine days in two phases with the harbour phase scheduled from February 25 and the Sea Phase from March 1 to March 4.
India is celebrating the 75th year of its independence in 2022, and Milan 22 provides an opportunity to commemorate this milestone with friends and partners.
The theme of the exercise is ‘Camaraderie – Cohesion – Collaboration’ which aims to project India as a responsible maritime power to the world at large.
The aim of the exercise is to hone operational skills, imbibe best practices and procedures, and enable doctrinal learning in the maritime domain, through professional interaction between friendly navies.
It is a biennial multilateral naval exercise incepted by the Indian Navy in 1995 at the Andaman and Nicobar Command. Since its inception, the event has been held biennially except for 2001, 2005, 2016 and 2020. While the 2001 and 2016 editions were not held due to International Fleet Reviews, the 2005 edition was rescheduled to 2006 due to the 2004 Tsunami. The 2020 edition of was postponed to 2022 due to Covid-19.
Starting with the participation of only four countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, in the 1995 edition, the exercise has since transitioned leaps and bounds in terms of the number of participants and complexity of exercises.
Originally conceived in consonance with India’s ‘Look East Policy’, Milan expanded in the ensuing years with the government’s ‘Act East policy’ and Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) initiative, to include participation from island nations in the Western Indian Ocean Region as also IOR littorals.
Participation increased from six regional countries to 18 countries in 2014 which included IOR littorals.
With the Indian Navy’s engagement with friendly foreign countries expanding over the decades, a need was felt to further consolidate the naval cooperation by enhancing the scale and complexity of the exercise and engaging both regional and extra regional navies of the world.
Considering the infrastructure requirements of a large naval gathering, it was decided to shift the event to the mainland, and Visakhapatnam, being the Headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command, was nominated to host the event.
Milan 22 will witness its largest ever participation, with more than 40 countries sending their warships and high level delegations.
This edition would be larger in ‘scope and complexity’ with the focus on exercises at sea including exercises in surface, sub-surface and air domains and weapon firing.
“Operational Conferences and Seminars are also being conducted, providing participating navies/ delegations an opportunity to express their views on maritime security. The high profile foreign delegates will comprise highest level naval leadership, agency heads, ambassadors and equivalent,” the Indian Navy said.