Indian Navy to take on US ships in October war games

August 21st, 2008 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Indian Navy ships will take on the US navy flotilla, led by its Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, in simulated war games and combat manoeuvres on the country’s western seaboard from Oct 15-24.With the Left parties no longer supporting the government, the 2008 edition of the games known as the advance Malabar exercise is expected to be less controversial.

“The US Navy will be fielding the USS Ronald Reagan, which has Carrier Strike Group-7 on board, the nuclear submarine USS Springfield, the guided-missile frigate Thach, the guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley and USS Decatur and guided missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville,” a senior naval officer said.

“Besides, the US Navy will also be fielding its auxiliary ships USNS Bridge,” he added.

The USS Ronald Reagan, the US navy’s newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, has started sailing from Japan and will reach India’s west coast after calls in other countries. The USS Springfield will not be carrying any ballistic missiles.

The Indian Navy will not be fielding its lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat as it is undergoing a refit.

“From the Indian side, one Rajput class ship and the INS Talwar, INS Godavari, INS Brahmaputra, INS Betwa, INS Aditya as well as the Shishumar class submarine will take on the US navy flotilla,” the officer said.

Shore based aircrafts — the Long Range Maritime Patrol (LRMP) TU-142M of the Indian Navy and P-3C Orions from the US Navy and Indian Air Force fighter jets Jaguar, Indian Navy’s Dorniers and ship borne helicopters Sea King, Kamov and Chetak helicopters — will also participate in the exercise.

“We will engage in anti-submarine operations, submarine to submarine operations, flying operations, cross deck embarcations,” the officer said.

“During the exercise, alternating control and command will also take place, under which the Indian fleet commander will take over the command of the US fleet and vice versa.”

Last year, the Malabar exercise saw five countries taking part — India, US, Australia, Japan and Singapore.

It was marred by controversy, with India’s Left parties, which withdrew support to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government this July, vehemently protesting the joint drill and seeing it as yet another sign of the growing closeness between New Delhi and Washington.

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