Indian Navy conducts passage exercise with US carrier Nimitz

New Delhi (NVI): The Indian Navy today conducted cooperative exercises in the Indian Ocean with US Navy’s Nimitz Strike Group, which saw the participation of nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, world’s largest warship.

The exercise was a big message to China amid the ongoing border row in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as China tries to expand its military influence in Indo-Pacific region.

Indian Navy units undertook the Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the US Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is transiting through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Indian Navy spokesperson said in a tweet.

The Indian Navy had also conducted similar Passage Exercises with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the French Navy in recent past, the Naval spokesperson added.

“The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is transiting through IOR. During the passage, #IndianNavy units undertook Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with #USNavy. Indian Navy had also conducted similar PASSEXs with #JMSDF and #FrenchNavy in recent past,” @indiannavy said in a tweet.

The US Seventh Fleet also released a statement on the exercise. “It was a privilege to operate with the Indian Navy,” said Rear Admiral Jim Kirk, commander, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.

“RADM Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, leads a powerful and highly skilled Fleet. The opportunity to have the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group join with his Fleet for a series of exercises improved our interoperability and is a testimony to the flexibility of both our Navies,” he added.

While operating together, the US and Indian naval forces conducted high-end exercises designed to maximize training and interoperability, including air defense. Nimitz CSG’s operations are designed to provide security throughout the region while building partnerships with friends and allies, the US navy said in a statement.

“Naval engagements such as these exercises improve the cooperation of U.S. and Indian maritime forces and contribute to both sides’ ability to counter threats at sea, from piracy to violent extremism. These engagements also present opportunities to build upon the pre-existing strong relationship between the United States and India and allow both countries to learn from each other,” it said, adding, Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed to the Indian Ocean in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

It is pertinent to mention here that the government has kept on alert all three defence forces following a bitter stand-off with China, especially after the Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives.