Port Blair: MILAN 2012, the biennial congregation of naval forces of 13 countries, began here in Andaman and Nicobar islands on Wednesday.
The Indian Naval Sail Boat of Andaman Nicobar Command which had been flagged off from here on January 17 as a curtain raiser to the ceremony, returned from Phuket, Thailand on Wednesday morning.
The boat was accorded ceremonial welcome at the Naval Harbour and received by Lt Gen N C Marwah, Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman Nicobar Command, and other defence dignitaries.
Marwah said the six-day MILAN 2012 would provide the participating nations an excellent opportunity for interaction on operational, cultural and social fronts.
Among various programmes, a Table Top exercise 'CAMARADERIE' is scheduled for on Thursday aimed at undertaking joint planning in dealing with present day scenario like piracy, gun and drug running and threat from non state actors.
Five countries had participated in 1995 when 'MILAN' initiative of the Indian Navy was started for building friendship and mutual understanding between participating navies.
Now, navies from Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Philippines, New Zealand and Thailand, besides India, are taking part in MILAN 2012.
A maritime seminar on capacity building through maritime cooperation on Friday, City Parade on Sunday were the other major events of the congregation. Sports championship like golf and sailing would also be held during the congregation.