Malabar 2012: Indo-US naval forces to participate

Washington: Equipped with guided-missile cruiser, destroyer and submarine, US and Indian naval forces will participate in the 10-day long annual Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal, the US 7th Fleet announced today.

"The United States and India share common values and seafaring traditions. Our navies are natural partners, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds and personal relationships between our navies," it said.

A regularly scheduled naval field training exercise that has grown in scope and complexity over the years, Malabar 2012 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues, the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey, a logistics ship, P-3C aircraft and a submarine would participate in the exercise from the American side, it said.

Noting that the exercise will feature both ashore and at- sea training, the statement said training will include subject matter expert and professional exchanges on counter-piracy, operations, carrier aviation operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations and anti-submarine warfare operations.

Phase I of the at-sea training will be conducted in the vicinity of Chennai while Phase II will be conducted in the Bay of Bengal and west of the Nicobar Islands.
They are designed to advance participating nations` military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.

"The Indian Navy and US 7th Fleet have a common understanding and knowledge of a shared working environment at sea. This exercise helps to advance the level of understanding between our Sailors and we hope to be able to continue this process over time," the statement said.

Events planned during the at-sea portions include liaison officer professional exchanges and embarks; communications exercises; surface action group operations; helicopter cross-deck evolutions; underway replenishments; gunnery exercises; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); maritime strike; air defense exercises; encounter exercises; shore-based surface strikes; and anti-submarine warfare, the statement said.

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson had carried the body of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden before it was lowered to its final resting place at sea.