Sri Lanka is hosting its first-ever Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise, which began with the arrival of US Navy elements at the countryâ€™s naval base in Trincomalee on 1 October, according to a statement by the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet.US Marines and Sri Lankan Marines conduct visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) drills on 2 October during the first-ever bilateral CARAT exercise to be held between the US and Sri Lanka. (US Navy)
Called â€˜CARAT Sri Lanka 2017â€™ the week-long exercise is part of a series of annual bilateral CARAT drills conducted between the US Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The focus of the CARAT exercises is to develop maritime security capabilities and increase interoperability among participants. Skill areas exercised during drills include small boat operations, evidence collection, diving procedures, and anti-terrorism security.
â€œThe US Navy is pleased to add Sri Lanka to our list of CARAT partners in 2017 as part of our larger efforts to expand both bilateral and multilateral maritime security engagement across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,â€ Commodore Robert Baughman, commander of Task Force-75, was quoted in the statement as saying.
US Navy assets participating in â€˜CARAT Sri Lanka 2017â€™ include Commander, Task Group 75.5, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Underwater Construction Team 2, and US Marines with Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific, according to the statement.