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Largest ever Indo-US naval exercise from Monday

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October 03, 2003 18:35 IST

The largest ever Indo-US joint naval exercise, the fifth in 'Malabar Series', will begin off the coast of Kochi, the headquarters of India's Southern Naval Command, on October 5.
Naval cruisers, several maritime aircraft and hundreds of military personnel from the United States would arrive in Kochi by Monday.

Also see: US nuke-powered submarine to take part in joint exercise
An American nuclear submarine, two US Perry class destroyers, and P3C Orion long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft will take part in the exercise.
An Indian Navy spokesperson said ships from the Brahmaputra and Godavari classes, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft TU-142, two Kashin class missile destroyers and anti-submarine warfare Kamov helicopters and IL-54 reconnaissance aircraft will deployed from the Indian side.
The main attraction of the exercise, however, will be a nuclear submarine and two P3C Orion anti-submarine and maritime reconnaissance aircraft that the American Navy is sending for the exercise.
The spokesperson said the exercise will involve personnel from the two navies undertaking joint flying operations, anti-submarine warfare and replenishment at sea.
Senior Indian Navy officials said the exercise will also be a platform for professional interaction between the two navies and it will take the Indo-US military bonding to new heights, especially in the global war against terrorism.
They said the exercise will also help in devising ways to help vessels in distress in the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
It will also help in improving safety of sea-lanes.
The last Indo-US naval exercise took place in Kochi in September last year. As many as 5,000 personnel from the two navies had participated in it.

The American vessels that participated in last year's exercise included the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Chancellor Ville and Spruance-class destroyer USS Paul F Foster.
In preparation for Monday's exercise, the officials disclosed, American war ships have been calling at the Kochi naval port in the past few months.

Some months back, the USS Sides, the ship deployed for 'Operation Enduring Freedom' in Iraq, visited the Kochi coast.
Personnel from the two navies will also engage in cultural exchanges and social interactions.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Indian and US naval ships alternately patrol the piracy-troubled Strait of Malacca.

The 'Malabar Series' of bilateral Indo-US military exercises began in 1992, but lapsed after the US imposed military and economic sanctions on India in the wake of the Pokhran nuclear tests in May 1998. Last year, India and the US announced the revival of the exercises pledging a larger naval interaction.
The four earlier Indo-US naval exercises were in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2002.

Also see:
India, US look to strengthen naval cooperation
Indian, US navies to resume joint exercises in October


George Iype in Kochi