Samudra Shakti is an outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indonesia in May 2018. The key concern of both the navies was to strengthen solidarity and deepen the military ties between the Indian and the Indonesian navy forces. In line with India’s Act East Policy, a comprehensive strategic partnership was established between the two navies to encourage good order in maritime.
Why is it in the News?
The Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy participated in a two-day bilateral maritime exercise known as ‘Samudra Shakti’ conducted near Sunda Strait from 20 – 22 September 2021.
Candidates can get details about the List of Joint Military Exercises of the Indian Army at the linked article.
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What is exercise Samudra Shakti?
Through India’s Act East Policy framework, the Samudra Shakti exercise was established in 2018 as a bilateral maritime exercise between India and Indonesia.
The primary function of a diplomatic initiative like Samudra Shakti is to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two nations, enhance interoperability, boost mutual understanding, and facilitate best practices.
As such, the bilateral IN-IDN exercise encouraged intensive and continuous engagement with Indonesia concerning connectivity, culture, defence, and trade.
India Naval Ships Shivalik and Kadmatt and KRI Bung Tomo, KRI Malahayati, and MPA from the Indonesian Navy were used to conduct Air Defence serials, Military Interdiction Operations, Weapon Firings, Cross Deck Landings, and Replenishment Approaches.
NS Shivalik and Kadmatt are multi-role Guided Missile Stealth Frigate and Anti-Submarine Corvette. They can carry multi-role helicopters and are equipped with an array of weapons and sensors. The naval ships are a representation of India’s warship-building capabilities.
What are Joint Military Exercises?
Joint military exercises form a crucial part of military diplomacy. In the past decade or so, India has been part of several such exercises. Out of these, India has participated in joint naval exercises with 14 countries, army exercises with 18 countries, and air force exercises with eight countries.
The objectives of joint military exercises vary from interoperability to developing trust, fraternity, familiarity between the two nations, or even demonstration of capabilities.
The choice of location for the joint exercises is usually considered a sign of deep trust and engagement between the two militaries.
The recently led naval exercises between India, Japan, and the US in the Sea of Japan were conducted to boost maritime security cooperation—aimed at China as a concern to its maritime activities.
Furthermore, the joint military exercises also provide access to weapons, equipment, and familiarization with new technology.
One of the most important advantages of joint military exercises is ‘strategic signalling.’ It is a joint exercise with one or more nations and fulfils the purpose of signalling to a third country of influence. This allows a demonstration to encourage and practice the diplomatic objectives. As such, military exercises motivate fraternity and camaraderie between soldiers and militaries.
UPSC aspirants can also read about India’s other important joint military exercises such as MALABAR-21, Garuda Shakti IV, Hand-in-Hand, Indra, Khanjar V, etc.
Understanding India’s Act East Policy
The Act East Policy (AEP) draws focus to the extended neighborhood in the Asia-Pacific region. It works towards building a strategic partnership with Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, Singapore, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The Objective of Act East Policy is to forge close ties with all the countries in the Asia-Pacific region and promote economic cooperation, strategic relationships, and cultural relations through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels.
The North East of India is also a priority in the AEP. As such, it encourages enhanced connectivity to the states of North East India that include plans at bilateral and regional levels such as developing and strengthening the connectivity of Northeast with the ASEAN region through trade, culture, people-to-people contacts, and physical infrastructure (road, airport, telecommunication, power, etc.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Samudra Shakti
When did the first edition of Samudra Shakti abhyas begin?
The inaugural IN-IDN bilateral maritime exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ began on November 12, 2018, at Surabaya, Indonesia, and concluded on November 18, 2018.
When did the second edition of the Samudra Shakti exercise take place?
The second edition IN-IDN bilateral maritime exercise Samudra Shakti took place in the Bay of Bengal from 6- 7 November 2019.
When was the third edition of exercise Samudra Shakti concluded?
The third edition of exercise Samudra Shakti was concluded on September 22, 2021.
Who is the current Chief of India Naval Staff?
Admiral Radhakrishnan Hari Kumar is the current Chief of the Naval Staff India.