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American, Indian Navies Demonstrate Sea Partnership During Malabar 05

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050929-02
Release Date: 9/29/2005 11:26:00 AM

By Senior Chief Journalist (SW/AW) Scott Williams, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

ARABIAN SEA (NNS) -- American and Indian naval forces have teamed together for a bilateral naval exercise that began Sept. 27 off the southwest coast of India.

The annual exercise, known as Malabar, includes at-sea maneuvers designed to increase interoperability between the two navies and enhance the cooperative security relationship between India and the United States.

More than 6,500 U.S. Navy personnel, primarily from Carrier Strike Group 11, are engaged in air, surface and sub-surface operations and professional military exchanges with their Indian counterparts.

Malabar is considered to be a key element of the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s anti-submarine warfare training cycle.

Rear Adm. Peter Daly, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11, said, “It’s the largest exercise we’ve ever done with the Indian navy, the first-ever exercise with a U.S. carrier and the Indian aircraft carrier Viraat (R 22), and it’s an important step in our strengthening relations with India.”

Carrier Strike Group 11 is working alongside Indian warships as they exercise their skills in maritime interdiction, force protection drills, surface formation steaming, coordinated gunfire support and prosecution of submarine contacts. Nimitz is providing air support with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 11 and is hosting several Indian officers as part of an exchange program.

“Apart from professional interaction, we are also looking toward making friends as has been the motto of our navy: ‘building bridges of friendship,’” said Lt. Cmdr. Juzer Nadeem, a fighter direction officer with the Indian Navy. “These series of exercises should continue and the level of interaction increase over the years.”

Another Indian officer, Lt. Cmdr. Sudipto Maitra, agreed. “The series of exercises over the years has built up to a very complex scale of operations to the state where two carriers are operating in the same waters, same air space, and so many aircraft flying around very safely. It’s been good,” he said. “We only look forward to greater interaction, greater interoperability, and of course, building bridges of friendship.”

The Indian officers were paired up with their American colleagues aboard Nimitz. One Air Wing 11 officer said the bilateral relationship was mutually beneficial.

“We’ve been learning about how they do business as well,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christian Kidder, administration officer with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117. “Their carrier does business in much the same way that ours does. They have the same chain of command, same structure within their aircraft carrier on the Viraat.”

The guided-missile destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Chafee (DDG 90) are the two primary anti-submarine surface ships assigned to the strike group. Led by Capt. Michael Smith, commander, Destroyer Squadron 23, the two destroyers are key units in the exercise for the U.S. Navy.

Other U.S. units providing key support are land-based P-3C Orion maritime patrol and reconnaissance planes and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763).

Malabar was last held a year ago at the same location. This is the seventh iteration of the annual exercise. Malabar ’05 is scheduled to conclude Oct. 5.

Carrier Strike Group 11 is commanded by Rear Adm. Peter Daly. Nimitz serves as the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 11 and is homeported in San Diego, along with Higgins and Princeton. Chafee and Santa Fe are homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.


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