New Delhi, Oct.16 : The Indian Navy on Thursday confirmed that it would be participating in war games with the United States in the Arabian Sea as part of an effort to boost naval ties between the two countries.
Navy spokesman Commodore Nirad Sinha told reporters here today that the US Navy's nuclear-powered super-carrier USS Ronald Reagan and five other warships of the US Navy's seventh Fleet would participate in the exercise. A nuclear submarine will also join the Malabar 08 exercise to be held off the Goa coast, Sinha added.
"Naval cooperation between India and the United States epitomises the relationship between two large and responsible maritime powers," he said, without saying how long the games would last.
Fighter jets from the two sides will also join the mock combat drills, which officials from both sides said would be an exercise in "complex manoeuvres."
The exercises mark the first time that the USS Ronald Reagan will operate in Indian waters.
The announcement of the drills comes less than a week after the United States and India signed a pact to open up sales of civilian nuclear technology to New Delhi for the first time in three decades.
The signature of the deal caps a three-year political rollercoaster in both countries for an agreement that lifts a ban on US-Indian civilian nuclear trade imposed after New Delhi's first nuclear test in 1974.
The Malabar series is another signal of the new cordial relationship between the two countries, which were on opposite sides during the Cold War.
The rapprochement has been keenly opposed by India's communists who see them as undermining New Delhi's traditional non-aligned foreign policy.