Visakhapatnam: The ninth edition of India-Sri Lanka Bilateral Maritime Exercise SLINEX (Sri Lanka-India Naval Exercise) began at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

The Bilateral Maritime Exercise is scheduled at Visakhapatnam from March 7 to March 10. The exercise will be conducted in two phases; the Harbour Phase at Visakhapatnam on March 7 and 8, followed by Sea Phase on March 9 and 10 in the Bay of Bengal, informed the Navy.

Sri Lankan Navy will be represented by SLNS Sayurala, an advanced offshore patrol vessel and the Indian Navy by INS Kirch, a guided missile corvette. Other participants from the Indian Navy include INS Jyoti, a fleet support tanker, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Sea King and Chetak helicopters and Dornier maritime patrol aircraft.

The previous edition of SLINEX was conducted off Trincomalee in October 2020.

SLINEX aims to enhance inter-operability, improve mutual understanding and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies, informed the Navy.

The Harbour Phase would include professional, cultural, sporting and social exchanges. Exercises during Sea Phase will include surface and anti-air weapon firing exercises, seamanship evolutions, aviation operations including cross deck flying, advanced tactical manoeuvres and special forces operations at sea. These will further enhance the high degree of inter-operability already existing between the two navies.

SLINEX exemplifies the deep maritime engagement between India and Sri Lanka and has grown in scope over the years to strengthen mutual cooperation, in consonance with India's policy of 'Neighbourhood First' and Hon'ble PMs vision of 'Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)'.