US and Sri Lankan maritime forces have commenced the cooperation afloat readiness and training (CARAT) exercise in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, which represents the first-ever annual drill event to be conducted between the two nations.

CARAT Sri Lanka 2017 forms part of a series of bilateral CARAT exercises that are scheduled to be carried out between the US Navy and the armed forces of Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand.

The US Navy assets participating in this year’s exercise include Commander, Task Group 75.5, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Underwater Construction Team 2 and US Marines with Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific.

US Navy Task Force 75 commander commodore Robert Baughman said: “The 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.”

The two navies are expected to work in cooperation to improve maritime security skills and operations cohesiveness among participating maritime forces during the week-long exercise.

The bilateral activity focuses on strengthening maritime security capabilities and increasing interoperability among the participating nations.

It will also help boost the participants’ skills in several key areas, including small boat operations, evidence collection, diving procedures and anti-terrorism security.

Additionally, CARAT Sri Lanka 2017 aims to strengthen the relationship between military participants through sports and social events.

The training exchanges will be carried out at the Sri Lankan Navy base in Trincomalee.