Bangladesh, U.S. conduct successful CARAT exercises

Bangladesh, U.S. conduct successful CARAT exercises

FORUMStaff

The strong relationship between Bangladesh and the United States was showcased at the 24th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) during joint maritime security exercises held near Chittagong in November 2018.

“The long-standing partnership between Bangladesh and the United States has contributed to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, Commander Task Force 73, which oversaw U.S. participation in CARAT 2018. “These engagements reflect our shared belief that regional challenges increasingly require cooperative solutions by capable naval forces.”

The two navies strengthened their professional skills and relationship during the weeklong series of joint drills. (Pictured: Bangladesh and U.S. Navy divers train together during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2018 at the Special Warfare Diving and Salvage Command in Chittagong on November 8, 2018.)

“We all understand the complexities of the maritime domain, and we need collaborative initiatives for all like CARAT,” said Rear Adm. M Abu Ashraf, commander, Chittagong Naval Area. “Our bond between our two navies will continue to develop; mutual cooperation will further enlarge.”

During the sea drills in the Bay of Bengal, Sailors tracked and pursued practice targets and screened them for potential threats. They also employed division tactics to enhance communication among ships while conducting complicated maneuvers. During the shore drills, Sailors shared knowledge on such topics as aviation warfare and gas-turbine maintenance, according to a joint statement.

“CARAT Bangladesh scenarios are tailored with inputs from the U.S. and Bangladesh Navy to meet evolving threats through exchanges such as in explosive ordnance disposal, Marine tactics and dive operations, in addition to being a venue to improve best practices in information sharing and maritime domain awareness,” said Lt. j.g. Ben Ralen, U.S. lead planner of CARAT Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh and U.S. navies continue to increase the number of bilateral and multilateral exercises they participate in together to address the complete range of maritime operations. In 2018 in addition to the annual CARAT exercise, the two navies participated in the 17th annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) and 26th biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. CARAT focuses on maritime security operations, while SEACAT highlights information sharing and maritime domain awareness.

“We value the Bangladesh Navy’s persistence in increasing the sophistication and complexity each year — a direct result of the strong and mature partnership that our nations and our navies share,” said U.S. Capt. Ann McCann, deputy commodore for Destroyer Squadron 7.  “We look forward to conducting more exercises, more frequently, in more complex and sophisticated scenarios that incorporate an even wider range of maritime capabilities and address more shared interests and goals.”

Besides Bangladesh, the 2018 CARAT exercise series included bilateral engagements with other ally and partner nations including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

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