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US Navy debuts at India-led Exercise ‘Milan'

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) seen here during a brief stop for logistics in Singapore. (US Navy)

The US Navy (USN) is participating in an India-led series of biennial naval drills known as Exercise ‘Milan' for the first time since the activity began in 1995.

The service has dispatched the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 to the Bay of Bengal for the activity.

Exercise ‘Milan' is being hosted by the Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command at Vishakhapatnam. The harbour phase took place on 28 February while the sea phase is being held in the Bay of Bengal between 1–5 March.

The sea phase will feature “a variety of high-end tactical training, manoeuvring drills, air-defence exercises, submarine familiarisation, multinational replenishment-at-sea, communications drills, gunnery exercise, and joint warfighting scenarios”, according to the USN's Pacific Fleet in a 25 February statement on the drills.

“Milan provides an opportunity for like-minded navies that sharing a common vision of a more stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, to operate and train alongside one another,” said Commander David Catterall, commanding officer of Fitzgerald in the Pacific Fleet's statement.

“We are grateful for India's hosting this important event and their efforts to harmonise our contributions to the region and look forward to ensuring future engagements to build strong alliances and partnerships”, he added.

Besides India and the US, Exercise ‘Milan' 2022 will also involve naval personnel and assets from Australia, Bangladesh, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

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