New Delhi: India and Sri Lanka today began their bilateral naval exercise off Lanka's Trincomalee focusing on anti-piracy exercises, gun firings, cross-deck helicopter operations and anti-surface operations.
"Reinforcing the strong neighbourly ties underscored by extensive maritime interaction, the Indian and Sri Lankan Navies would undertake the 4th edition of Sri Lanka-India Exercise (SLINEX) off Trincomalee, Sri Lanka from October 27 to November 1," the Indian Navy said in a statement here.
SLINEX series of bilateral maritime exercises were initiated in 2005 and since then three successful engagements have been conducted.
Incidentally, the excercise began on a day when Lankan authorities announced that at least 34 Indian fishermen have been arrested and their boats seized by Lankan Navy last night.
Indian Naval ships Kora, Kirpan (both missile corvettes) and Savitri (offshore patrol vessel) along with ship-borne integral helicopters entered Trincomalee today to participate in the exercise.
In addition, an Indian Naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also participate in the exercise.
The Lankan Navy will be represented by Sayura, Samudra, Sagara, six Fast Attack Crafts, two Fast Gun Boats and one Fast Missile Vessel.
The exercise will commence with a Harbour Phase, during which, the participants will engage in professional, cultural and social interactions.
The Harbour Phase will be followed by the Sea Phase, which will commence on October 30. The Sea Phase will include complex operations including anti-piracy exercises, gun firings, cross-deck helicopter operations and anti-surface exercises.
"The benefits of operational interactions under the aegis of SLINEX are clearly visible as both the Navies today have an improved and steadfast understanding.
"SLINEX 15 will further enhance the capability of the two navies to work together at sea and contribute towards maritime security in the region," the Navy said.