Maldives Rejects India's Invitation For Naval Exercise 'Milan'

| February 27 , 2018 , 15:56 IST

Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba confirmed on Tuesday that Maldives has declined India's invitation to participate in 'Milan', the biennial naval exercise.

The exercise held once every two years is a friendly drill for India and the navies of the Indian Ocean Rim countries to network socially and through drills.

Milan 2018, is scheduled to be based in Port Blair from March 6 to 13.

Lanba was speaking after a seminar on the “Indo-Pacific” in New Delhi that was also attended by the Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

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Lanba told reporters on the sidelines of the event that Maldives has not given any reason for the decision.

While giving details about the Milan exercise Lanba said, "Milan will provide the opportunity to the participating navies to nurture stronger ties in dealing with various security challenges

The theme for Milan 2018 is “Friendship across the seas”, according to an Indian Navy official statement issued last week.

It said “the growing participation (of navies in Milan)…bears testimony to the success of this multilateral initiative. From a sub-regional event started in 1995, Milan has grown into a prestigious international event and encompasses participation by maritime forces from not just the Bay of Bengal and South East Asia but the larger Indian Ocean Region”.

The countries participating in the exercise are Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Vietnam, Thailand, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia.