Updated February 19th, 2024 at 19:53 IST

MILAN 2024 Exercise: Despite Tensions in the Red Sea, Iranian Frigate & US Destroyer Reach India

Despite conflicting interests, the nations have recognised India's influence and chosen engagement over diplomatic fallout.

Reported by: Digital Desk
The USS Halsey (R) from the United States, the IRIS Dena (L) from Iran. | Image:Indian Navy

Visakhapatnam: Despite tensions simmering in the Red Sea, the USS Halsey, an’ Arleigh Burke class destroyer, and the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIS) Dena from Iran are participating in the MILAN exercise hosted by India.

USS Halsey Docks at Visakhapatnam 

"The Sunrise Command of the Indian Navy extended a warm welcome to the USS Halsey (DDG-97), an Arleigh Burke-Class Guided Missile Destroyer of the United States Navy, to the City of Destiny, Visakhapatnam, for MILAN 2024," the Navy said in its official statement.

Khoshomadid! IRIS Dena Joins Milan 2024 exercise

Iran-US Relations Along Tensions in Red Sea

Their participation comes amidst rising tensions and conflict situations in the Red Sea, where both the US and Iran are involved. Iran's involvement is through its proxy, the Houthis, who, under the pretext of calling out Israel for its alleged 'atrocities' in Gaza and to declare a ceasefire, have continued to strike targets in the Red Sea while the US continues with its 'self-defence strikes'. 

USS Halsey arrives at Visakhapatnam

Not only the situation in the Red Sea, but US-Iran relations have been marred with problems since the last decade, including disagreements over Iran's support for the Houthis. However, they have chosen to set aside their differences and engage in this naval drill.


India’s Growing Diplomatic-Defence Strength

India's role as the host and mediator is vital in bringing together naval forces from countries with strained relations. By providing a neutral platform for dialogue and cooperation, India has depicted its augmented growth in diplomatic power and ability to bring those with enmities together. Despite conflicting interests, the nations have recognised India's influence and chosen engagement over diplomatic fallout.

Milan 2024 Begins: 50 Nations Come Together in Display of Maritime Might

The MILAN naval exercise's 12th edition began in Visakhapatnam on Monday. Over 50 countries are taking part in the nine-day event, ending on February 27. The theme is "Forging Naval Alliances for a Secure Maritime Future," and as per the Navy, it will focus on improving teamwork among naval forces around the world. Fifteen warships and one maritime patrol aircraft from friendly foreign nations will join.

INS Vikramaditya docked at Visakhapatnam.

Nearly 20 ships, including aircraft carriers Vikrant and Vikramaditya, and around 50 aircraft like the MiG 29K and P8I of the Indian Navy will also take part in the exercise. During the opening ceremony of MILAN, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar spoke about the maritime exercise's importance by mentioning its growth in size, content, and complexity, with invitations extended to 58 countries and over 50 positive responses, making it the largest so far.


Published February 19th, 2024 at 19:53 IST