BAY OF BENGAL (Oct. 18, 2015) – The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) welcomed aboard 28 senior Indian, Japanese and U.S. civilian and military officials to observe the tri-lateral Exercise Malabar 2015, Oct. 18.
Distinguished visitors included Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of India Takeshi Yagi, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of India Richard Verma, Indian Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. R.K. Pattanik, and Indian Navy Rear Adm. S.V. Bhokare, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
Malabar is a continuing series of complex, high-end war fighting exercises conducted to advance multi-national maritime relationships and mutual security. It features complex exercises both ashore and at sea, and has grown in magnitude and complexity since its conception in 1992.
“All three countries have very capable navies, and we’re good partners for each other. When you practice and train together in this way it really does help us when we might actually have to work together on those things that we hold very dear,” said U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma. “It has been a terrific success made possible by the incredible service of all these professionals from the three militaries that are present here.”
During their time aboard Theodore Roosevelt, distinguished visitors observed flight operations, coordinated Indian, Japanese and U.S. ship maneuvers and toured Theodore Roosevelt.
“I think this is a great boost to the maritime cooperation between the U.S., India and Japan,” said Yagi. “We attach great importance to this and we hope we can continue to participate in the Malabar exercise.”
Earlier in the day, in a clear display of tri-lateral capability, the Indian Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Shakti (A 57) conducted an underway replenishment with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Akizuki-class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki (DD 108) and Theodore Roosevelt simultaneously.
“We have been progressing every year and lessons learned have been passed down to increase interoperability,” said Bhokare. “Now it has become a trilateral exercise, so we are learning even more every year.”
This year the exercise has expanded to include Japan.
“This exercise has a good effect on peace and stability in this region,” said Capt. Masahiko Hoshino, commander, Escort Division 14, JMSDF. “JMSDF, U.S. Navy and Indian Navy have years of experience, [and] we have to make an effort to strengthen the trilateral cooperation.”
Exercises such as Malabar allow for practical training while exchanging both skills and cultures and increasing understanding of multinational operations.
“The whole idea is to get the three different navies together, do our operations, figure out how we operate differently, and how we can coordinate our operations. We practice the exercises and make sure we’re comfortable operating with each other and can trust each other,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12. “We want to make sure that everyone leaves this exercise feeling like we are very comfortable in how we operate and we have a good exchange.”
Theodore Roosevelt, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Corpus Christi (SSN 705), JS Fuyuzuki, the Indian Navy Brahmaputra-class guided-missile frigate INS Betwa (F 39), the Rajput-class destroyer INS Ravijay (D 55), the Sindhughosh-class diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhuraj (S 57), INS Shivalik and INS Shakti are all participants in Exercise Malabar 2015.
Theodore Roosevelt is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations as part of a worldwide deployment en route to its new homeport in San Diego to complete a three-carrier homeport shift.
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