Last Thu (18 May), the Indian media reported that the navies of India and Singapore held a mega maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Warships and planes from both navies participated in the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise.
“The thrust of the exercise, with the harbor phase scheduled from May 18 to 20 and the sea phase from May 21 to 24, will be on anti-submarine warfare, integrated operations with surface, air and sub-surface forces, air defence and surface encounter operations,” Indian Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said.
Another Indian media said that the exercise is “seen as a manifestation of both the countries’ convergent interest in keeping China’s expansionist tendencies in check.”
China’s state-owned newspaper Global Times responded 2 days ago to the joint-exercise and quoting an analyst, Song Zhongping, said: “India’s recent joint naval military drills with Singapore in the South China Sea…could be New Delhi’s response to China’s military streamlining and its burgeoning Belt and Road initiative.”
Song, a military expert who used to serve in the PLA Rocket Force said: “India had promised not to take sides and provoke China on the South China Sea disputes. But the country is reneging on its promise by conducting such major drills in the area.”
Despite being criticised by the Chinese publication as being “the sole, conspicuously pro-US country in Southeast Asia”, Singapore continues to participate in the military drills perceived to be anti-Chinese.
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