India, Thailand navies’ three-day coordinated patrol exercise gets under way in the Andaman Sea

Published : June 10, 2021 11:39 IST

INS Saryu and HTMS Krabi participate in the 31st Indo-Thai CORPAT, on June 9. Photo: INDIAN NAVY HANDOUT/PTI

The navies of India and Thailand kicked off their three-day, bi-annually India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) in the Andaman Sea on June 9. The 31st edition the joint exercise comes in the backdrop of China’s expanding presence in the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Navy, too, has in recent times been gradually expanding its presence in the Indian Ocean Region.

Participating in the patrol are the Indian Naval Ship Saryu, an indigenously built offshore patrol vessel, and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Krabi, also an offshore patrol vessel. The two vessels will be accompanied by Dornier patrol aircraft from both navies.

The Indo-Thai CORPAT, which began in 2005, serves to reinforce maritime links between Thailand and India and forge strong bonds of friendship between the two navies, besides helping consolidate inter-operability. In addition, the CORPAT ensures an exchange of information pertaining to the prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and in the conduct of search and rescue operations at sea, thereby enhancing the operational synergies.

Said Commander Vivek Madhwal, Indian Navy spokesperson: “The Indo-Thai CORPAT aims to keep this vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for international trade and facilitates institution of measures to prevent and suppress unlawful activities like illegal unreported unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy.”

In sync with the government’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with countries in the Indian Ocean Region towards enhancing regional maritime security. “This has been through bilateral and multilateral exercises, coordinated patrols, joint EEZ surveillance, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” said the Navy spokesperson.

The Indian Navy has been holding several such exercises and combat readiness war games with friendly countries. Last April witnessed the bilateral ‘Varuna’ naval exercises between India and France in the western Arabian Sea. The exercise also saw the participation of the fledgling United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy, making Varuna-21, a trilateral exercise. The French navy had, prior to Varuna-21, also joined in an exercise with the navies of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) member countries — Australia, India, Japan and the United States.