India and the US kicked off a two-day naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal, reflecting the growing congruence in their defence and military partnership. The exercise, which began yesterday, will conclude today.
Indian Navy deployed its warship Shivalik and long-range maritime patrol aircraft P8I in the ‘PASSEX’ exercise while the US Navy was represented by the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group.
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. In a first, enhancing jointmanship, Indian Air Force fighters have also been included in the exercise affording the IAF an opportunity to practice air interception and air defence with the US Navy.
The exercise came over a week after US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin flew into India as part of his three-nation first overseas tour that signalled the Joe Biden administration’s strong commitment to its relations with its close allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the visit, both sides resolved to further consolidate their robust defence cooperation through deeper military-to-military engagement with Austin describing the partnership as a stronghold of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
A defence spokesperson said the exercise is aimed at consolidating the synergy and interoperability achieved during the Malabar exercise that took place in November last. esides the Indian Navy, US, Australian and Japanese navies participated in the Malabar naval exercise.