US, Maldives conduct joint military exercises in Indian Ocean



Colombo: United States Marines and Maldivian National Defence Forces have begun joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean amid continued political turmoil in Male.

The two forces started their 10-day exercise on Thursday, a US embassy statement said yesterday.

It said 'Coconut Grove 2012' was a bilateral, biannual exercise on the southernmost island of Gan. "The exercise will focus on general military skills and enhancing interoperability between the two forces, and will help advance common regional security interests between the US and Maldives", the statement said.

The recurring, ongoing exercise will increase mutual understanding and enhance professional and amicable relations between the two militaries.

The 10-day exercise between 4-10 October will include several days of medical training and combat lifesaving techniques, as well as convoy operations and general military skills training.

The participating US units primarily come from I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, California, with support from the Maritime Sealift Command.

PTI