The Indian Navy and the Royal Omani Navy have launched the ninth edition of the bilateral exercise, known as Naseem Al Bahr 2013, off Oman in the North Arabian Sea.
During the exercise, the allied navies will conduct surface warfare, visit board search and seizure (VBSS), anti air warfare, air operation, advanced helo operations and maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
The Indian Navy's Mazagon Dock-built Delhi-class guided-missile vessel INS Mysore (D60), Talwar-class guided missile ships INS Tarkash (F50) and INS Tabar (F44) as well as Aditya-class replenishment and repair ship INS Aditya (A59) are taking part in the exercise.
The vessels will operate under the command of the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet Rear Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla.
The drills also involve Royal Navy of Oman Vessels (RNOV) including RNOV Al Muazzar, RNOV Al Mussandam, RNOV Al Naja and a landing ship RNOV Temsah will participate in the exercise, alongside Royal Air Force of Oman's Lockheed Martin-developed F-16 fighter aircraft, BAE Systems-built Hawk aircraft and Jaguar aircraft amongst others.
The exercise has been designed to boost interoperability and mutual benefit from the experiences of both the navies. Earlier, the Indian and Oman governments formally established a 1953 Indo-Oman Treaty of friendship, navigation and commerce.
Since then, the allied nations have entered a memorandum of understanding on Defence Cooperation in December 2005 as well as subsequent establishment of the Joint Military Cooperation in Mar 2006 to enhance defence cooperation.
Steady progress has been taking place through naval cooperation between the countries with enhanced port visits by naval ships and training of RNO personnel by the Indian Navy in hydrography, diving, training management, logistics management and dockyard management.
Image: Indian Navy's INS Mysore (D60) ship sailing alongside USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). Photo: courtesy of John L. Beeman.