As part of the ongoing “Malabar” series of exercises, Indian and US Navies will practice expeditionary maneuvers off the Konkan coast in addition to a simulated joint semi-urban anti-terrorism exercise by in Belgaum, Karnataka.
For the first time, Navies of both nations will land 9 Sikh Light Infantry and US Marines troops off the massive USS Boxer, a huge amphibious vessel, off the Konkan coast where they will attack and destroy a specially constructed “enemy” infrastructure. India has only moderate experience with such operation and is also useful as it will be acquiring a retired American ship with similar displacement. Besides this operation, the two navies will perform anti-submarine operations, interdict ships, coordinated weapons firing, perform board, search, and seize operations, dissimilar air combat, cross-deck flying, and simulated “war at sea” operations. Indian Naval officials are upbeat about these exercises as it will them evaluate their own capabilities against those of a developed nation and also improve understanding and interoperability.
In another set of exercises, 21 battalion of the Punjab Regiment will join US marines in a cordon and search operation in Belgaum to test joint learning in intelligence sharing, communications, weapons usage, and equipment sharing. This exercise, called Shatrujeet '06 (Victory over enemy), will carry forward the lessons learnt during an earlier session in the US.
The exercise in a semi-urban setting is the latest addition to the growing Indo-US interaction. Earlier four interactions included special-forces inter-operation in wooded mountains, paratrooper drops, and mock assaults as part of the “Yudh Abhyas” (practicing for war) series.