, Thousands of navy personnel from India and the United States were gearing up yesterday for their largest-ever joint naval exercise off the southern Indian coast.
The October 5-9 exercise, called “Malabar-2003” after India's western Malabar coast, will involve an American nuclear submarine, destroyers, reconnaissance aircraft, missile destroyers and anti-submarine helicopters.
The exercise will include operations to board, search and seize a suspected vessel on the high seas, defense ministry officials said earlier this week.
An Indian navy statement said Sunday the exercises would enhance the interoperability of the two navies.
Similar exercises were conducted in 1992, 1995 and 1996, but then military cooperation between India and the United States was suspended after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998.
Washington lifted sanctions and renewed military-to-military contacts when India joined its coalition against terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Source: Associated Press