Panaji, Feb 22 (IANS) The fifth edition of the 11-day IBSAMAR naval exercise between Brazil, India and South Africa is currently underway off the coast of Goa, the Indian Navy said on Monday.
This is the first time that IBSAMAR, which started on February 19, is being conducted in Indian waters, with all its previous editions being held off the coast of South Africa, an Indian Navy statement said, adding that the primary aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the three navies, as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
"Naval cooperation between the three countries epitomizes the strong long-term strategic relationship between the three democracies and vibrant economies. Initiated in 2006, Exercise IBSAMAR is the most visible manifestation of this convergence of democratic values, economic interests and maritime cooperation," the statement said.
"The scope and complexity of Exercise IBSAMAR has increased steadily and in its 5th edition in 2016, IBSAMAR has matured into a complex trilateral exercise involving the participation of ships, submarine, aircraft's and Special Forces from Brazil, India and South Africa," it further said.
The thrust of the exercise this year would be on anti-submarine sarfare (ASW), surface firings, air defence, visit board search and seizure (VBSS), flying operations, search and rescue and tactical procedures, the statement said.
During the exercise, the Indian Navy is represented by INS Mumbai, an indigenously designed and built guided missile destroyer, INS Trishul a stealth frigate and INS Shalki, a Shishumar class submarine, along with various fast attack craft, Sea Harriers and MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft and integral rotary wing helicopters.
While the Brazilian Navy has been represented by Brazilian Naval Ship Amazonas and Special Forces, commanded by Commander Alessander Felipe Imamura Carneiro, the South African counterparts are represented by South African Naval Ship SAS Spioenkop with integral helicopter and embarked Special Forces, Commanded by Captain MA Boucher.
Both the ships are on return passage after participating in the International Fleet Review which was held at Visakhapatnam earlier this month.