New Delhi, Oct 19: On Sunday, Oct 19 the Indo-US bilateral naval exercise 'Malabar 08' began in the Arabian Sea, in which frontline units from both the navies are participating. The scope of Malabar exercise includes diverse activities, ranging from gun-firing and fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers, to combating the scourge of terror, through Maritime Interdiction Operations exercises.
During Malabar 08, the US Navy will be represented by the Ronald Reagan Strike Group (RRSG) of the USN 7th Fleet which is based at Yokosuka, Japan. The RRSG will include USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Chancellorsville, USS Gridley, USS Decatur, USS Thach and USS Bridge, an underway replenishment tanker. In addition, one submarine, USS Springfield and one P3C Orion aircraft will also participate in the exercise.
The Indian Navy 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, namely, INS Talwar, Godavari, Brahmaputra and Betwa. In addition, INS Aditya which is an underway replenishment tanker and one Shishumar class submarine, Sea Harrier fighters, fixed and rotary wing aircraft are also scheduled to participate in the joint exercise.
The regular IN-USN interaction over the years has resulted in an increase in the complexity and professional content of the bilateral exercise. The thrust of the exercise this year would be on Surface or Air Operations, Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Firings, VBSS (Visit Board Search and Seizure) and Submarine Operations.
The exercise is 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.
A joint IN - USN Press conference is being schedule on Oct 18 at Goa.
Naval cooperation between India and the USA epitomises the logical relationship between two large and responsible maritime powers.
Both navies have, over the years, undertaken diverse bilateral activities such as training exchanges, information exchange, and technical cooperation. The navies, much like their parent nations have significant convergence of interests, especially in the maintenance of maritime security in this fragile region.
Towards this, an India - USA Framework for Maritime Security Cooperation was signed in 2006.
The annual Malabar series of exercises that commenced in 1992 provides such an opportunity. Eleven such exercises have been held so far.