Indian,US naval forces to begin annual Malabar exercise tomorrow

10-day long naval exercise begins in Bay of Bengal to advance maritime ties between the two nations.

Written by Agencies | Washington/chennai | Published: April 6, 2012 12:42:15 pm

Armed with guided-missile cruiser,destroyers and submarine,US and Indian naval forces will begin a 10-day long annual Malabar exercise tomorrow in the Bay of Bengal to advance their maritime ties and mutual security issues,the US 7th Fleet announced today.

“The United States and India share common values and seafaring traditions. Our navies are natural partners,and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds and personal relationships between our navies,” it said.

A regularly scheduled naval field training exercise that has grown in scope and complexity over the years,Malabar 2012 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual

security issues,the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

Among the vessels that will dot the oceanline near and off Chennai would be aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson,from whose deck the body of slain al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was disposed off in a sea burial and Indian Navy’s home-built Guided Missile Frigate INS Satpur.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill,the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey,a logistics ship,P-3C aircraft and a submarine would also participate in the exercise from the American side.

“The Indian Navy and US 7th Fleet have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. This exercise helps to advance the level of understanding between our Sailors and we hope to be able to continue this process over time,” the US statement said.

The Naval cooperation between Indian and the USA reflects the “long-term defence relationship between both countries,” Indian Navy said in Chennai,adding over the years the two collaborated over a wide spectrum of activities and exercise to advance the maritime partnership.

Both on-shore and off-shore activities including professional exchanges on operations including counter-piracy,carrier aviation,maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare are lined up for the 10-day exercise.

Phase I of the at-sea training will be conducted in the vicinity of Chennai while Phase II will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal and west of the Nicobar Islands.

They are designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.

“Events planned during the at-sea portions include liaison officer professional exchanges and embarks,communications exercises,surface action group operations,helicopter cross-deck evolutions,underway replenishments,gunnery exercises,visit,board,search and seizure,maritime strike,air defense exercises,encounter exercises,shore-based surface strikes and anti-submarine warfare,” the US military statement said.

Indian ships and vessels that would take part in the Exercise Malabar-2012 also include Guided Missile Destroyers INS Ranvijay and INS Ranvir Missile Corvette,INS Kulish and Fleet Tanker INS Shakti.

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