Indonesian Navy and Indian Navy have concluded bilateral maritime exercise, known as ‘Samudra Shakti’. It has been conducted in Sunda Strait from 20 to 22 September. The Sunda Strait (Selat Sunda) is the strait between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. It connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean. It had been an important shipping route for centuries. Sunda Strait provide deep water alternatives to the Straits of Malacca within close proximity of the Australian mainland, reinforcing the maritime dominated reality of the Indo-Pacific – more than this, both Sunda is pivotal pieces in the long vaunted ‘sea-air gap’.
Enter the Straits of Sunda strategically critical waterways in the Indonesian archipelago that present viable alternatives for maritime access to the economies of India China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea via the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion worth of trade flows annually. Under the extant policies, the 3rd edition of Exercise Samudra Shakti exercise is being conducted in a COVID safe environment and seeks to bolster the maritime cooperation between the two navies and forge strong bonds of friendship across the Indo Pacific.
This is the third edition of Samudra Shakti, which aims to strengthen maritime cooperation between the two navies and bolster friendship bonds across the Indo Pacific. The exercise will serve as a platform to share best practices and develop a common understanding of maritime security operations between India and Indonesia. It also seeks to improve bilateral relationship and enhance mutual understanding and maritime interoperability between the navies of the two nations. The exercise will include complex maritime operations such as air defence serials, weapon firings, cross deck landings, military interdiction operations, replenishment approaches, and tactical manoeuvres.
The guided-missile corvettes KRI Bung Tomo and KRI Malahayati are participating in the exercise on behalf of the Indonesian Navy. The Indian Navy’s multi-role guided missile stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine corvette INS Kadmatt are representing the service in the exercise. These ships form part of the Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Indian Navy long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft P8I and Indonesian Navy maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft CN-235 MPA are also taking part.