South China Sea: Beijing THREAT as India and Singapore move into disputed waters
INDIA and Singapore have started conducting a naval drill in the South China Sea in a fresh hit to Beijing.
By CLAIRE ANDERSON
PUBLISHED: 02:52, Mon, May 20, 2019 | UPDATED: 07:53, Mon, May 20, 2019 Express.co.uk
The Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise is expected to go on for four days. Indian Navy ships Kolkata and Shakti are taking part in the exercise along with long-range maritime patrol aircraft Poseidon-8IM, the Economic Times reported. Singapore has RSN ships Steadfast and Valiant as well as maritime patrol aircraft Fokker-50 (F-50) and F-16 fighter aircraft.
The Indian Navy said: “The four-day naval exercise will include various maritime combat drills such as advanced aerial tracking, coordinated targeting tactical exercises and weapon firing on aerial and surface targets.
India and Singapore share robust military ties which have grown in tactical and operational complexity.
The naval drill comes 10 days after India joined the US, Japan and Philippines as they demonstrated presence in the South China Sea.
While similar exercises have been held in the South China Sea in the past, the combined display by four countries represented a fresh challenge to Beijing.
Commander Andrew Klug said: “Professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region are opportunities to build upon our existing, strong relationships.”
The move comes after Beijing unveils two warships carrying deadly cruise missiles.
The Public Liberation Army (PLA) now has 20 of these warships equipped with up to 256 missiles.
Tensions in the South China Sea have risen in the past year as the countries try to push back China’s hold on the region.
China claims almost all of the strategic South China Sea with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam pushing competing claims to parts of the maritime region.
The waters are the world’s busiest trade route is also claimed by the likes of Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei.
So far, the US has conducted 15 freedom of navigation operations in the area since 2015.
The US also want allies to consider similar manoeuvres.
Categories: Rumors and Threats of Wars