Nuclear 'USS Roanal Reagan' to participate in Malabar 2008 exercise

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) Nuclear powered aircraft carrier 'USS Ronald Reagan', along with submarine 'USS Springfield' and a 'P3C Orion' aircraft among others, is reaching Indian shores to participate in the 12th 'Malabar' series Indo-US naval exercise beginning October 17 on the Arabian sea.

Part of the US Navy's Ronald Reagan Strike Group (RRSG) of the 7th Fleet based at Yokosuka, Japan, 'USS Ronald Reagan' would be accompanied by 'USS Chancellorsville', 'USS Gridley', 'USS Decatur', 'USS Thach' and 'USS Bridge' (an underway replenishment tanker) during this year's 8-day (October 17-24) exercise.

The Indian side will be represented by 'INS Mumbai' (an indigenous Delhi Class guided missile destroyer), INS Rana (a Rajput Class guided missile destroyer) and four guided missile frigates - 'INS Talwar', 'Godavari', 'Brahmaputra' and 'Betwa', along with 'INS Aditya' (an underway replenishment tanker), a 'Shishumar' class submarine, Sea Harrier fighters, and fixed and rotary wing aircrafts in the joint naval exercise, according to the Defence ministry.

Such annual exercises have resulted in better understanding of the complexity and professional content of bilateral exercises, which are primarily aimed at deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two participating professional navies.

The confidence gained through interoperability during such exercises has proved to be of immense use, particularly, when involved in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, it said.

This year the thrust would be on Surface/Air Operations, Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Firings, VBSS (Visit Board Search and Seizure) and Submarine Operations, according to the Defence ministry.

Frontline units from both the navies are participating in diverse operations, including gun-firing and fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers and combating the scourge of terror through Maritime Interdiction Operations exercises, at this year's joint exercise, it added.

Naval cooperation between India and the USA began after 'India-USA Framework for Maritime Security Cooperation' was signed in 2006 to periodically 'exercise' at sea/in harbour, in order to build interoperability and share 'best practices'. Following that the first 'Malabar' series exercise began in 1992.

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