PASSEX with the U.S.A

Recently, Indian Naval ships conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the U.S. Navy’s USS Nimitz carrier strike group near the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

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  • A passage exercise is normally undertaken whenever an opportunity arises, in contrast to pre-planned maritime drills.
  • Recently, the Indian Navy had also conducted similar PASSEXs with the Japanese Navy and the French Navy.
Key Points:
    • Four frontline Indian naval ships which included INS ShivalikINS SahyadriINS Kamorta and INS Rana, teamed up with carrier USS Nimitz and three other U.S. ships to conduct the exercise.

      • USS Nimitz is the U.S. Navy’s largest aircraft carrier.
  • Aim:

    • To improve the cooperation between the U.S. and Indian maritime forces and to maximize training and interoperability, which also include air defence.

  • Impact:

    • It will enhance both sides’ ability to counter threats at sea, from piracy to violent extremism.

      • A free and open sea promotes an international rules-based order wherein each country can reach its potential without sacrificing national sovereignty.
    • It will 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.

  • China Factor:

    • PASSEX comes amid a high alert by the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) due to the stand-off with China along the border in Ladakh.

      • The exercise also came amidst mounting tensions in the South China Sea where the U.S Navy just conducted a major exercise involving USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan.
    • The Indian Navy is keeping a close watch on the movement of Chinese naval ships in the IOR, whose presence has gone up considerably over the years in the name of anti-piracy patrols.

      • In 2017, China opened its first overseas military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

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