New Delhi: Amidst ongoing deadly coronavirus outbreak, the government on Tuesday decided to postponed the multilateral naval exercise, MILAN-2020, scheduled to be conducted at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
“It is for information that MILAN 2020 – a multilateral naval exercise scheduled to be conducted by the Indian Navy from March 18-28, at Visakhapatnam, has been postponed taking into consideration the safety of all participants and travel restrictions imposed by the spread of COVID-19,” an official said.
The conduct of MILAN 2020 had generated a very enthusiastic response, with Navies around the world having expressed their desire to participate; and in deference to this interest, the Indian Navy looks forward toward scheduling MILAN at a later convenient date, Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command PRO Commander CG Raju said.
“The Indian Navy would like to whole heartedly thank the numerous navies from near and far for having accepted their invitation to participate in MILAN 2020, as also for the unstinted support provided in the run-up to this event,” he added.
A total of 41 countries the invitations were sent including Indonesia, France, Mozambique, Sudan, Israel, Qatar, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar, New Zealand, USA, Tanzania, Comoros, Maldives, Brunei, Philippines, Japan, UK, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mauritius, Cambodia, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Kuwait, Iran, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Russia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Bahrain, UAE and Seychelles.
Notably, China was not invited.
The exercise is a biennial congregation of friendly navies. It is a week-long multilateral exercise aimed at enhancing professional interaction and learn from one an other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.
With the huge increase in the number of invites, the exercise venue has been shifted this year from Andaman and Nicobar to Visakhapatnam for logistical and administrative convenience.