US Navy Exercises With The Indian Navy In The Indian Ocean
The US Navy 7th Fleet conducted exercises with the Indian Navy. This Fleet has around 70 ships and submarines, over 150 aircrafts and has a strength of nearly 20000 all ranks.
Along with the Fleet, USS Spruance, based at San Diego, and P-8A aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 ‘Fighting Tigers’ based at Jacksonville in Florida also joined in for the routine operations within the 7th Fleet.
The Indian Navy and the US Navy conducted an anti-submarine exercise in the Indian Ocean involving P-8 aircraft. This is an indication that the US has activated the secure data link on the P-8Is under COMCASA, looking to improve the interoperability of the US P-8 aircraft.
The Indian Navy’s P-8I aircraft from Naval Air Squadron 312, based at Indian Naval Station (INS) Rajali, took part in the exercise. The drills were focused on anti-submarine warfare training, information sharing and coordination between maritime patrol aircraft and ships.
After signing the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) last September, India and the US implemented the deal with their first ever secure communication link set up earlier this month. Prior to COMCASA, the US had to deploy temporary systems with Indian units during joint exercises so the two sides could communicate.
Earlier this month, the two navies established their first ever secure communication link under the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) which was signed between the two countries last September.
“The US Navy is committed to engaging with regional partners in establishing common practices and developing mutual capabilities. Our goal is to further standardize our procedures so we can work more efficiently in future real-world operations,” an official statement from commanding officer of USS Spruance Cmdr. Matthew Smidt read.
With the activation of the secure communication link on India’s military platform under COMCASA, the Indian Navy will be able to receive real-time US intelligence on military deployments by China and Pakistan.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba earlier specifically singled out the growing presence of Chinese warships, including submarines, in the northern part of the Indian Ocean as a “challenge” for India.