India and US to Raise Out Two-day Mega Naval Drill in Indian Ocean from Wednesday

The Indian Navy will participate in a two-day mega naval exercise with the US naval carrier strike group Ronald Reagan in the Indian Ocean region from Wednesday, in reflection of the growing operational cooperation between the two navies, officials said. The Indian Air Force said it also will participate in operational engagements with the US Navy in the exercise with the US Carrier Strike Group (CSG) which is currently deployed in the Indian Ocean Region.

A carrier battle group or carrier strike group is a mega naval fleet comprising an aircraft carrier, accompanied by a large number of destroyers, frigates and other ships. Indian Naval ships Kochi and Teg along with a fleet of P8I maritime surveillance aircraft and MiG 29K jets will participate in the drills, Navy officials said.

“The Indian Naval warships along with aircraft from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force will be engaged in joint multi-domain operations with the carrier strike group comprising Nimitz class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey and Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh,” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

He said the two-day exercise aims to strengthen the bilateral relationship and cooperation by demonstrating the ability to integrate and coordinate comprehensively in maritime operations. “High tempo operations during the exercise include advanced air defence exercises, cross deck helicopter operations and anti-submarine exercises. The participating forces will endeavour to hone their war-fighting skills and enhance their interoperability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain,” Madhwal said. “Indian Navy and US Navy regularly undertake a host of bilateral and multilateral exercises which underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring commitment to an open, inclusive and a rule-based international order,” he said.

The IAF said the assets to be part of the exercise would include Jaguars and Su-30 MKI fighters, AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) and air-to-air refueller aircraft. In a statement, it said the US CSG is expected to field F-18 fighters and E-2C Hawkeye aircraft. “The exercise will be carried out south of Thiruvananthapuram, on the western seaboard, over two days,” the IAF said. “The exercise with the US CSG will focus on multiple areas including enhancing aspects of interoperability, nuances of international integrated maritime search and rescue operations and exchange of best practices in the maritime airpower domain,” it added.

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