The US and Bangladesh navies have joined together during the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2020, which began on 4 November.

The exercise is claimed to demonstrate the commitment of the US to work with the Bangladeshi military.

It will address the region’s shared maritime security concerns and boost the partnership in order to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

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

“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.”

CARAT exercises historically include people-to-people interactions and relationships via different professional exchanges and symposia, subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs), community relations projects, and social events.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the events of the exercise were planned to be carried out virtually, where the two countries will share best practices and conduct discussions.

The SMEE events includes different joint training opportunities, such as replenishment at sea (RAS) training, maritime domain awareness (MDA), legal regulations at sea, and aviation best practices.

Bangladesh Navy Fleet Commander Rear Adm M Mahbub-Ul Islam added: “The longstanding relationship between the US and Bangladesh has been steadfast and time tested.

“Exercise CARAT with this level of difficulty, of enhancing cooperation, and in friendship, and strengthening professional interoperability, has become a unique forum to work with the US Navy.”

The US assets participating in CARAT Bangladesh include staff from Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, CTF 73, CTF 76, and DESRON 7.

Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) is a part of the afloat assets.

In May last year, US and Thai maritime forces started the annual regional CARAT exercise at Sattahip Naval Base.