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'BD-US exercise to address shared maritime security concerns'

FE REPORT | November 05, 2020 00:00:00

Commander BN Fleet Rear Admiral M Mahbub-ul Islam inaugurating training and exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)-2020 virtually from BN Fleet headquarters in Chattogram on Wednesday, jointly organised by Bangladesh and USA Navy — ISPR

The joint navy exercise in the Bay of Bengal by the United States and Bangladesh will address shared maritime security concerns in the regions, a US Embassy statement said in Dhaka.

"The exercise titled 'Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2020' demonstrates the US's continuing commitment to working with the Bangladesh military to address shared maritime security concerns in the region and strengthen our partnership to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region," the statement said.

"Working together with our friends and partners is a force multiplier for peace and stability," said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7.

"We will continue to operate with and learn from the Bangladesh Navy and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in our commitment to a free and open maritime commons," he said.

Historically, CARAT exercises involve people-to-people interactions and relationships through a variety of professional exchanges and symposia, subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs), community relations projects, and social events. However, to mitigate the Covid-19 risks, exercise events were planned virtually and current SMEEs will take place online, using real-time virtual7 during the virtual opening ceremony, according to the statement.

"While we cannot meet in person this year, our communication and bonds remain strong, and we look forward to practicing maritime professionalism when we meet at sea and online," the Expeditionary Strike Group commander mentioned.

Bangladesh marks the second CARAT exercise in 2020, following CARAT Brunei in the South China Sea, on Oct5-9. Dhaka has been a participant since 2011.

US assets participating in CARAT Bangladesh include staff from Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, CTF 73, CTF 76, DESRON 7. Afloat units include the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3).

With nearly a half century of diplomatic relations between the US and Bangladesh, the two countries continue to work closely together to advance a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region, said the statement.

"The CARAT exercise series, celebrating its 26th anniversary, is designed to address shared maritime security concerns and strengthens partnerships between regional navies. CARAT Bangladesh 2020 underscores this shared commitment," it added.

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