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US 7th Fleet expands cooperation with Indian Navy

The US Seventh Fleet and Indian Navy on Wednesday convened the 21st Executive Steering Group (ESG) on bilateral naval cooperation here.

Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer co-chaired the two-day conference with Deputy Navy Chief Vice Admiral G. Ashok Kumar.

“The commanders reviewed progress of current initiatives and renewed their commitment to expanding exercises, exchanges and port visits that benefit both navies,” an official release said.

Held annually since 1995, the conference focused on enhancing cooperation in several areas, including carrier strike group operations, maritime domain awareness, at sea logistics, naval medicine, port visit opportunities and expanding exercise Malabar, it said.

The Indian and US navies conducted Exercise Malabar in June this year off the coast of Guam, joined for the second time by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Malabar was followed by the Indian Navy’s participation in exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) off the Hawaiian Islands. In October, members of US Navy’s P-8A and Indian Navy’s P-8I maritime patrol aircraft squadrons held a professional exchange in Goa.

“The U.S-India partnership is more important today than ever before. Events like the ESG allow us to come together and forge a vision of how our forces will work together for the years to come,” said Lieutenant Commander Jerry Tzeng, Seventh Fleet South Asia Regional Theatre Security Officer.

Seventh Fleet, which celebrated its 75th year in 2018, is the US Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet. It boasts of around 70 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and 20,000 sailors.

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