With the massive participation of India’s primary naval and coastal security agencies, the Indian Navy’s largest wargame TROPEX-23 culminated this week in the Arabian Sea. The theatre-level exercise was conducted over a period of four months from November 2022 to March 2023.

The four-month-long naval exercise witnessed the participation of over 70 Indian Navy ships, six submarines and 75 aircraft. The intense exercise, before coming to an end in the Arabian Sea, covered the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

TROPEX 2023 also included two major exercises, the Coastal Defence exercise Sea Vigil and Amphibious Exercise AMPHEX. These exercises also saw active participation from Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard.

Covered A Vast Expanse of Water

Over the period of four months, the theatre-level exercise covered the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Spanning over an area of 21 million square nautical miles, TROPEX 2023 extended theatre operations across 4300 nm from North to South up to 35 degrees South Latitude and 5000 nm from the Persian Gulf in the West to the North Australia coast in the East.

On the sidelines of the culmination of TROPEX-23, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited and spent a day onboard the recently commissioned Indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant as part of the Joint Phase of the exercise. During the visit, the Defence Minister reviewed the Indian Navy’s operational preparedness and various operational demonstration including the deck operations of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS and live weapons firing.

While addressing the Indian Navy fleets, he commended the naval force’s operational readiness. He also lauded the Navy for staying true to the Make-in-India initiative given the recent achievements of the force.

Participation of Key Naval Assets

During the exercise, all surface combatants of the Indian Navy took part in complex maritime operational deployments. The Navy assets included Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes as well as submarines and aircraft. Providing operational validation, the participation of key Navy assets refined the force’s concept of operations, operational logistics and interoperability with other services.

Ex Sea Vigil

The coastal defence exercise, Sea Vigil 22 culminated on November 16, after being conducted along the entire 7516 km coastline and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India. The two-day pan-India exercise, conducted by the Indian Navy in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard, covered 9 coastal States and Union territories with the participation of over 17 government agencies responsible for coastal and maritime security.

Conceptualised in 2018 to evaluate the measures taken post-26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Exercise Sea Vigil aimed to explore the scope of handling contingencies for every possible scenario, from peacetime to wartime. Additionally, shoreside mitigation measures were validated in case of a breach in the Coastal Security mechanism.

Amphibious Exercise, AMPHEX 2023

Aimed at joint training, the tri-services Amphibious Exercise was held in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh from January 17 to 22 this year. The Indian Navy participated in the exercise with a number of amphibious ships including Large Platform Docks (LPD), Landing Ships and Landing Crafts, Marine Commandos (MARCOS), helicopters, and aircraft. The Indian Army took part in the exercise with over 900 troops, including Special Forces, artillery, and armoured vehicles. The exercise also included Jaguar fighters and C-130 aircraft from the Indian Air Force.

Exercise TROPEX for the Navy has expanded in size and complexity over time. The major maritime exercise provides a chance to assess how well the combined fleets of the Indian Navy are prepared for combat in a challenging multi-threat scenario.