Special Correspondent

Expeditionary manoeuvres off Konkan coast in the coming days

  • Troop landing a useful lesson
  • Cordon and search operations will be the finale.

    NEW DELHI: For the first time, the Indian and United States Navies will practise expeditionary manoeuvres off the Konkan coast in the coming days These will be followed by a simulated, joint semi-urbancounter-terrorism exercise in Belgaum, Karnataka.

    On the Konkan coast, the two navies, joined by the U.S. Marines and 9 Sikh Light Infantry, will practise landing troops, who will then attack and destroy "enemy" infrastructure especially constructed for the ninth "Malabar" series of joint exercises.

    India has modest capability in this respect. A huge ship, USS Boxer, will land troops on its shores. This exercise and how the Americans handle the Boxer "should be a good lesson" for the Indian Navy, which will soon get a former U.S. navy ship of similar displacement, say official sources.

    Advanced exercises

    The two navies will also carry out anti-submarine operations, maritime interdictions, weapon firings, visit board search & seizure operations, dissimilar air combat, cross-deck flying and a simulated "war at sea."

    "At one level, such interactions help us hone our skills and audit our own standards by firsthand comparison with the navies of advanced countries. On the other, it improves mutual understanding and cooperation and helps evolve interoperability through common drills and procedures," say the sources.

    In the "Cradle of Infantry," Belgaum, 21 battalion of the Punjab Regiment will join the U.S. Marines, and cordon and search operations would be the finale.

    Before that, troops will learn to work together in sharing intelligence, communication and weapons and equipment.

    Called Shatrujeet '06 (Victory over enemy), the joint exercise will carry forward the lessons learnt during an earlier session in the U.S.

    This series of exercises in a semi-urban setting is a new addition to the growing India-U.S. interaction.

    Troops from both sides have already conducted four times "Yudh Abhyas" (practising for war), set in wooded mountains. Special forces from both sides have jointly carried out para-drops and mock assaults.

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