New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) The first joint tri-services military exercise between India and the US, the Tiger Triumph, commenced in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday keeping in view their shared strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific and China’s efforts in widening its footprints in the region.
The nine-day exercise, being conducted off the coast of Kakinada and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, is aimed at improving interoperability amongst the defence forces of the two countries in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, said officials.
US President Donald Trump had announced the exercise during the Howdy Modi event that was held in Texas, Houston in October.
“In November, the US and India will demonstrate the dramatic progress of our defence relationship, holding the first ever tri-service military exercise between our nations, it is called ‘Tiger Triumph’, good name,” Trump had said while addressing the Texas gathering.
China’s efforts at consolidating its presence in the Indian Ocean Region has been a cause of worry for the US which has maintained that it not only threatens nations and partners in the area but also negates the concept of free and open seas.
The US has deployed troops from its Third Marine Division as well as the US Navy Ship Germantown in the drill. The Indian Navy has deployed three ships, INS Jalashwa, INS Airavat and INS Sandhayak for the exercise, while the Indian Army has sent troops from the 19 Madras and 7 Guards. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has, on the other hand, deployed Mi-17 choppers and a Rapid Action Medical Team for the drill.
The four-day harbour phase of the exercise began at the Vishakhapatnam port on Wednesday that will be followed by the sea-phase off the coast of Kakinada during which various drills will be performed.
“Personnel from both the Navies would also participate in Training Visits, Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, Sports Events and social interactions. On completion of the Harbour Phase, the ships, with troops embarked, would sail for the Sea Phase and undertake Maritime, Amphibious and HADR operations. On reaching the HADR area at Kakinada, the landing of Relief Forces would be undertaken to the Exercise scenario,” said the statement.
Officials said a Joint Command and Control Centre will be established by the Indian Army and the US Marines at the end of the exercise while the medical teams from the IAF and the US Navy will establish a medical facility camp in order to provide medical aid to victims in a simulated exercise. Dummy victims will be previously evacuated by road and air to the camp before the simulated exercise.
The inaugural ceremony of the exercise was held on board INS Jalashwa of India on Wednesday. The closing ceremony will be held onboard the US Naval Ship Germantown on 21 November, said officials.
In June 2020, India will also participate in the largest international maritime exercise, the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) drill, which will be organised by the US Indo-Pacific Command.