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US, India to undertake joint naval exercise

A file photo of Malabar 2012 exercise.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian and American maritime surveillance aircraft along with their frontline warships will take part in the week-long Malabar series war games starting Tuesday in the Bay of Bengal where they will practice anti-submarine warfare.

India and the US have been holding the Malabar-series exercises for the last several years to strengthen inter- operability between their maritime forces.

"Malabar 2013 will commence Tuesday and the exercise is scheduled to take place from November 5 to 11. It is a regularly scheduled bilateral naval field training exercise matured over the years. The exercise has witnessed a variety a scope and complexity," a Navy release said.

"The exercise will feature both ashore and at-sea training. Ashore training will include subject matter expert and professional exchanges," it said.

The at-sea portions will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal and they are designed to advance participating nations' military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment, it said.

The navies will practice professional exchanges and embarkations, communications exercises, surface action operations, leapfrogs, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, gunnery exercises, visit board and search and seizure and anti-submarine warfare.

Assets of the US Navy taking part in the exercise include the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell and P3C Orion whereas India is fielding indigenously built frigate Shivalik, guided missile destroyer Ranvijay and TU-142M maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

"We are also here to find last minute details for sea-exercise which we are about to begin. We are fortunate to have two bilateral exchanges before coming to Chennai, one in India and one in Japan", Lyons said.

US Consul General Jenifer Mcintyre said the US Navy port visit represents an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region and demonstrate the US commitment to regional partners while fostering the growth of defence relationship with India.

"United States shares many common interests with India and other countries of the Indian Ocean region including mutual security, prosperity of our people and promotion of freedom," she said.

"Port visits like this one help achieve these goals," she added.

The officers and crew aboard USS McCampbell would also embark on cultural promotion activities in Chennai which include a cricket match with Indian Navy, visit to famous temples and shrines, Lyons said.

".... For most of us this is our first visit ever to India, so we are excited to be here. We are going to build bonds with our Indian Navy counterparts", he said.


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