Singapore and India just concluded the 25th edition of Simbex, as their annual bilateral maritime exercise is named. Starting out as a simple anti-submarine warfare exercise, the war games have grown in complexity over the years. This year's edition, with the respective chiefs of navy in attendance, was the largest in terms of complexity, weapons firing and maritime geography, and included the deployment of some 30 naval assets, including unmanned aerial vehicles. For India, it not only marked the longest uninterrupted bilateral maritime exercise it has held with any country's navy, but was also one in which it fired an unprecedented number of missiles and torpedoes, underscoring its trust levels with Singapore.
Separately, the armies of the two sides renewed an agreement for Singapore armour and artillery units to continue training in India. This is in addition to the training that the Republic of Singapore Air Force conducts in north-east India. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who flew to Port Blair, capital of the islands in the Andaman and Nicobar chain, welcomed India's continued engagement of the region as well as the active role it plays in the regional security architecture. He also noted that the Malacca Strait and Andaman Sea are a continuous body of water and critical sea lines of communication. Soon, the two countries will join Thailand and hold a trilateral exercise in the Andaman Sea.