As the novel coronavirus spreads, with fresh confirmed cases reported in the country, the Indian Navy has postponed its largest ever multi-nation war game exercise as a precautionary measure. The event was scheduled to begin on March 18 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
On Tuesday, the Navy said the exercise – Milan 2020 – has been indefinitely postponed “taking into consideration the safety of all participants and travel restrictions imposed by the spread of COVID-19”.
Milan 2020, the Navy said in a statement, had “generated a very enthusiastic response, with Navies around the world having expressed their desire to participate… in deference to this interest, the Indian Navy looks forward toward scheduling MILAN at a later convenient date.”
Navies of 41 countries had been invited for the exercise, and more than 30 had confirmed their presence, according to information. Navies of 16 countries, besides India, had participated in the last edition of the event in 2018.
Milan 2020 was expected to have the presence of at least 12 warships from across the world. Among the countries that had been invited are the US, Russia, France, Israel, Iran, UAE, Australia, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
China and Pakistan were also invited.
Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh had said in December last year that invites were sent to “like-minded countries”.
The exercise was to have a harbour phase from March 18 to March 23 and a sea phase from March 24 to March 27.
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