Visakhapatnam, Feb 26 (PTI): Navies of 39 countries came together to affirm ‘Camaraderie, Cohesion and Collaboration’ as host India set off the biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise MILAN-2022 on the east coast here on Saturday.
Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat inaugurated MILAN-2022 in a colourful ceremony at the Eastern Naval Command’s Samudrika here. Naval vessels from 13 countries are taking part in the 11th edition of MILAN while officials from Navies of 39 friendly foreign nations are also attending the event being hosted by the Eastern Naval Command for the first time in Visakhapatnam.
The Minister of State for Defence also inaugurated the MILAN Village at the Sailors Institute, which showcased the rich Indian crafts, culture and cuisine to the visiting dignitaries. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta and other officials attended the inaugural event. Earlier in the day, as part of the Harbour Phase of MILAN, a trek with 500 personnel from friendly Navies was conducted, culminating at Yarada beach near here. It was a fun-filled morning as the Naval personnel from different countries grouped themselves into teams for some games of basketball and tug-of-war.
Ships from Australia, USA, France, Singapore, Japan, Seychelles, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and other friendly countries have anchored in Visakhapatnam for the event. The ships will be illuminated on Sunday night off the Visakhapatnam beach, where a grand City Parade showcasing the culture of different countries will be conducted.
The scope of MILAN has been progressively expanded to include exercises at sea unlike the earlier editions where interactions between friendly foreign countries were predominantly harbour- based, according to the Navy. The sea phase of MILAN will begin on March 1 where a wide array of exercises will be conducted in multi-national groupings with seamanship drills, simulation of complex operational scenarios and tactical manoeuvres.