Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2023, the annual bilateral exercise hosted by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, got underway in Sri Lanka yesterday (19 Jan.).

The opening ceremony of CARAT-2023 was held at the Colombo harbour premises and the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee.

The opening ceremony at the pier side of Colombo harbour was held under the patronage of the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director General Operations of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Pradeep Rathnayake and Deputy Commodore Commander, Destroyer Squadron Seven, Captain Sean Lewis. 

Meanwhile, Commander Eastern Naval Area and Commandant Volunteer Naval Force, Rear Admiral Dammika Kumara and Lieutenant Max Cutchen of the U.S. Navy presided the opening ceremony held in Trincomalee.

CARAT Sri Lanka is a bilateral exercise between Sri Lanka and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability and preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Apart from the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Sri Lanka Air Force, the bilateral exercise will feature participants from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Maldives National Defence Force, with training exchanges being held both ashore and at sea in Colombo, Trincomalee and Mullikullam from 21 to 26 January.

SLNS Gajabahu and SLNS Samudura of Sri Lanka Navy will take part in the sea phase of CARAT-2023.

Additionally, performances by the Band of Sri Lanka Navy, together with the US 7th Fleet Band will be showcased at the Galle Face Green and Colombo Lighthouse on 20 January, Dutch Hospital – Colombo on 21 January, Viharamahadevi Park on 22 January, Diyatha Uyana in Battaramulla on 23 January, Independence Square on 24 January and the One Galle Face premises on 25 January, from 06.00 p.m. onwards each day.

CARAT is designed to enhance abilities of the partners to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and build relationships through sports, cultural, and information exchanges. 

Meanwhile, taking part in naval exercises of this nature is also expected to open up new avenues for the Sri Lanka Navy to share knowledge, strategies and experience as well as to build trust and strong relationships to step up the readiness and interoperability that helps overcome common maritime challenges.

source Adaderana