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    Multinational Milan-2018 Naval Drills Kick Off in Indian Ocean – Reports

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    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - About 30 warships have arrived in the area of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands to take part in the large-scale eight-day long naval exercises dubbed Milan-2018, The Times of India newspaper reported Wednesday.

    According to the newspaper, the drills that aim at enforcing regional cooperation in order to counter unlawful activities in critical sea lanes, began late Tuesday and will last until March 13.

    There are 28 warships including 17 from India and 11 others from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand participating in the drills, the newspaper quoted the Indian Navy officials.

    The Maldives, which initially planned to participate in drills, declined India’s offer due to the political crisis.

    READ MORE: US to Continue Routine Defensive Drills With Allies After South Korea Olympics

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    In the framework of the exercise, 39 delegates from 16 countries will gather to discuss the regional security situation including China’s military presence in the sea, which makes the event the largest meeting since the inception of the Milan drills.

    The biennial Milan drills were held for the first time in 1995 and involved five regional countries. The initiative is aimed to discuss common concerns in the Indian Ocean and enforce cooperation between friendly navies.

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