India-Maldives-Sri Lanka conduct first-ever virtual trilateral tabletop naval exercise

Colombo, July 15 ( India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives conducted the inugural virtual Trilateral Tabletop naval Exercise (TTX) – 2021 on July 14 and 15. Admiral Gurcharan Singh CSO (Ops), Western Naval Command, Indian Navy, Rear Admiral PS Mahawithana, Director General Operations, Sri Lanka Navy, and Colonel Hilmy from the Maldives National Defence Force were among senior officers who participated in the inaugural session of TTX-2021 on 14 July.

The exercise was coordinated by the Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai.

TTX-2021 is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and exchange of best practices/ procedures for countering common trans-national maritime crime like curbing narcotics and assistance in Maritime Search and Rescue in the region.

The exercise gains additional relevance in the light of the successful Operation Sagar Aaraksha 2 executed in support of the MV X Press Pearl incident. The seamless cooperation achieved between the navies was the result of continued engagements like the TTX to evolve common SOPs.

The Indian team at the trilateral tabletop exercise

TTX-2021 exemplifies the deep trilateral engagement between India-Maldives-Sri Lanka which has strengthened immensely in the maritime domain over the past years. Interaction between the three neighboring counties in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has also grown significantly in recent years, in consonance with India’s policy of ‘Neighborhood First’ and vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)’.

It may be recalled that India, Sri Lanka, and Maldives agreed to focus on ways of enhancing maritime security cooperation in the IOR at the fourth National Security Adviser (NSA)-level trilateral meeting held in Colombo in November 2020. The meeting was attended by India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary  General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, and Maldives’ Defense Minister Ms. Mariya Didi. Senior officials from Seychelles and Mauritius also participated virtually.

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