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USS Stethem conducts cooperative deployment with Indian Navy in Goa

PANAJI (PTI): The USA's Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) has conducted a Cooperative Deployment (CODEP) with the Indian Navy following the ship's port visit to Goa, officials have said.

The US Navy destroyer worked with the Indian Navy frigate INS Tarkash (F-50), and the operations focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships through manoeuvering and communication exercises last Tuesday, a media statement released here said.

US Consul General in Mumbai Mike Hankey said the port visit reinforces President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to an Indo-Pacific region built on shared values and principles "as we strengthen the relationship between our two countries."

He said the US recognises and values India's role and leadership in the Indo-Pacific region at large.

"Working in concert with India, we will advance the rules-based order and maintain peace and stability in the region," he added.

"Stethem Sailors greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with our partners in the region, working together with the Indian Navy allowed us to gain a greater appreciation for creating stability off their coast following our successful port visit," said Cmdr James "Nate" Watts, the commanding officer of Stethem.

The operations on India's West Coast, sailing together, show our strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, he said.

The statement said the US-India bilateral operations included division tactics, a passing exercise and formation sailing, providing both navies the opportunity to work together to further common maritime goals.

Port calls are part of the US Navy's routine operations. Not only do they reflect the mutual interest between the US and its partner nations, they allow sailors an opportunity to decompress from the high demand of life at sea, contributing to the overall mission readiness of the ship, it said.

Stethem is operating as part of Commander, Task Force 71, US 7th Fleet's principal surface force, the statement said.

CTF 71 is responsible for the readiness, tactical and administrative responsibilities for forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers as well as any surface unit conducting independent operations in the region, the release said.

US 7th Fleet is the US Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region, it added.

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