• INS Trikand, a front-line warship of the Indian Navy, participated in a multinational training exercise ‘CUTLASS EXPRESS – 19’ held from 27 Jan to 06 Feb 19.
• The aim of the exercise was to improve law enforcement capacity, promote regional security and progress inter-operability between the armed forces of the participating nations for the purpose of interdicting illegal maritime activity in the Western Indian Ocean.
• During the exercise, Naval, Coast Guard and Marine Police personnel from a number of East African countries were jointly trained by mentors from USA, India, and Netherlands, with support of international organisations like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Combined Maritime Force (CMF) and European Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR).
• The Indian Navy played a significant role in ‘CUTLASS EXPRESS – 19’, being involved in planning, coordination and execution. T
• hrough INS Trikand, the IN provided a platform for live Visit Board Search Seizure (VBSS) drills, which proved to be of immense training value to the participating nations.
Key highlights of this exercise
• The exercise was conducted in two phases.
• The first, called the Command Post Exercise (CPX) was conducted from 27 Jan to 02 Feb 19.
• It involved training of personnel on shore for coordination and conduct of VBSS operations.
• During the CPX, extensive training and interaction was carried out between the officers and sailors of the Indian Navy and personnel from the participating nations.
• The training included exposure of the personnel to the various software tools used by the US Navy and the European Union for integration of maritime information, with a view to positively identify a suspicious vessel and direct a VBSS operation against it.
• The second phase called the Final Training Exercise (FTX) was conducted from 03 – 05 Feb 19.
• This phase consisted of actual boarding operations at sea and live boardings were out onboard INS Trikand, anchored off Djibouti harbour.
• The closing ceremony of the event was held at the Djibouti Naval Base on the morning of 06 Feb 19.
Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Prelims level: Exercise Cutlass Express 2019
Mains level: India-US strategic relations