The Indian Navy, represented by the guided missile destroyer INS Delhi (D61), the replenishment ship INS Shakti (A57), and the attack submarine INS Kiltan (P30), arrived in Singapore during the first days of May as a symbol and sign of the strong relations between the two nations. However, the deployment of these ships, which sailed in the South China Sea, was a signal sent to the Asian giant, which has been involved in several incidents with ships of other nationalities in recent months.

After their visit to Singapore, the ships and submarine belonging to the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet arrived on May 19 in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, also framed under the operational deployment of naval force in the South China Sea to reinforce cooperation and demonstrate unity between both states in the Indo-Pacific region.

In this regard, an Indian observer director indicated that these maritime deployments aim to remind China of the importance of respecting maritime law and adhering to international norms. He also stated that this was part of a strategy to enhance maritime security, promote peace, and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

The relationship between India and Southeast Asia has evolved to the extent that since the signing of the “Act East” along with the agreement with the Philippines for the acquisition of anti-ship cruise missiles in 2022, efforts have shifted and strengthened to establish greater defense cooperation in the region in contrast to China and its capabilities.

Furthermore, India has been conducting annual bilateral naval exercises with Singapore since 1994 and has similar naval cooperation agreements with other Southeast Asian nations. For example, in 2023, a maritime exercise was held involving nine ships, six aircraft, and over 1,800 personnel from all member states of the bloc.

In addition to this movement, Germany also sent two warships to show its “presence in the Indo-Pacific in support of the rules-based international order” amid growing regional tensions, as stated by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. These will participate in exercises of the Pacific Alliance, a deployment organized by the United States.

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