Indian, US warships to conduct exercise in strong strategic signal to China amidst border confrontation

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Indian, US warships to conduct exercise in strong strategic signal to China amidst border confrontation


NEW DELHI: In a strong strategic signal to China amidst the military confrontation in eastern Ladakh, a US carrier strike group led by

aircraft carrier USS Nimitz

is set to conduct an exercise with

Indian warships

near the Andaman and

Nicobar archipelago

.

The PASSEX (passing exercise) between the two navies, which have built “interoperability” through a series of “Malabar” and other exercises, comes after the mammoth nuclear-powered USS Nimitz and her accompanying warships entered the Indian Ocean by crossing the Malacca Strait on Saturday.

The USS Nimitz carrier strike group, along with another one led by USS Ronald Reagan, has just completed an operational deployment and “freedom of navigation” mission in the

South China Sea

in a major show of support for US allies and partners in the region against an aggressive and expansionist China. The UShas 10 Nimitz-class “super-carriers”, each of which is around 100,000-tonne and capable of carrying 80-90 fighters, deployed around the globe.

Several Indian warships, including destroyers, frigates and submarines as well as maritime patrol aircraft, are taking part in the exercise led by eastern naval fleet commander Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan. It includes warships and aircraft from both the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and

the Eastern Naval Command

(ENC) headquartered at Visakhapatnam.

The eastern fleet exercise comes soon after TOI reported earlier this month that India was now finally looking to fast-track plans for basing additional military forces, along with developing the requisite infrastructure, in the strategically-located ANC.

The ANC, the country’s only theatre command with all assets and manpower of Army, Navy, IAF and Coast Guard placed under one operational commander, can be used as an effective pivot to counter China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region as well as ensure security of sea lanes converging towards the Malacca Strait.

Indian and Japanese warships had also carried out a small exercise near the Malacca Strait late last month. While Japan has become a regular participant in the high-voltage “Malabar”

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