US, India to undertake joint naval exercise
Chennai: The United States and India would undertake a joint naval exercise later this week as part of enhancing ties between the two countries, a top US Naval officer said on Monday.
The US warship guided missile destroyer -- USS McCampbell, currently docked at Chennai Port Trust would hold the "MALABAR" exercise in the Bay of Bengal between November 7 and 11 along with Indian Navy, Captain Paul J Lyons, Commodore, said.
"We are happy to arrive in Chennai to further our bonds of friendship, mutual cooperation of understanding, not only between the Navy but between our people. The formal commencement of exercise -- Malabar 2013 in a few days, marks the continuum of Malabar exercise that boasts the capacity of Indian Navy and US Navy both individually and collectively", Lyons, on his first visit to India, told reporters here on board USS McCampbell.
MALABAR is a regularly scheduled naval field training exercise and the latest is a continuing series of exercises conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues, a US Consulate official said.
"MALABAR exercise will further demonstrate our ability to plan and execute complex multi-war fare scenario of events at sea. That`s what great Navies do", he said.
"As the world`s two largest democracies, we share common values and interests, we also share personal relationships and procedures that provide mutual benefit," he said.
"We are also here to find last minute details for sea-exercise which we are about to begin. We are fortunate to have two bilateral exchanges before coming to Chennai, one in India and one in Japan", Lyons said.
US Consul General Jenifer Mcintyre said the US Navy port visit represents an important opportunity to promote peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region and demonstrate the US commitment to regional partners while fostering the growth defence relationship with India.
"United States shares many common interests with India and other countries of the Indian Ocean region including mutual security, prosperity of our people and promotion of freedom," she said.
"Port visits like this one help achieve these goals," she added.
The officers and crew aboard USS McCampbell would also embark on cultural promotion activities in Chennai which include a cricket match with Indian Navy, visit to famous temples and shrines, Lyons said.
".... For most of us this is our first visit ever to India, so we are excited to be here. We are going to build bonds with our Indian Navy counterparts", he said.