U.S. and Bangladesh Navies conduct CARAT Exercise in the Bay of Bengal

The U.S. and Bangladesh navies will expand relationships and broaden maritime awareness during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh commencing on 4th November, the U.S. Navy announced.

CARAT Bangladesh 2020 demonstrates the United States’ continuing commitment to working with the Bangladeshi military to address shared maritime security concerns in the region and strengthen our partnership to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Historically, CARAT exercises involve people-to-people interactions and relationships through a variety of professional exchanges and symposia, subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs), community relations projects, and social events. To mitigate COVID-19 risks, exercise events were planned virtually and current SMEEs will take place online, using real-time virtual meetings, for U.S. and Bangladesh to share best practices and carry on discussions in a live forum.

Despite the challenges in a COVID-constrained environment, online technology allows the opportunity to safely exercise with partners in the region.

The virtual SMEE events will feature a variety of joint training opportunities, to include replenishment at sea (RAS) training, maritime domain awareness (MDA), legal regulations at sea, and aviation best practices of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), helicopters, and maritime patrol and reconnaissance (MPRA) fixed wing aircraft.

This is the first year United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Bali Process Regional Support Office are supporting CARAT Bangladesh. Both organizations’ expertise provides the U.S. Navy and the Bangladesh Navy a better understanding of the international rules and norms associated with operational challenges of today’s complex maritime security mission. Their technical expertise assisted in developing a tailored scenario with an emphasis on strengthening capacity to adhere to international standards and legal obligations to more effectively counter maritime security challenges at-sea.

UNODC educates and offers practical assistance on technical assistance to combat maritime crime, including trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, through its interregional approach. The Bali Process supports efforts to protect migrants at sea, and explores cooperative approaches to confront the scourge of people smuggling and trafficking of persons.

The sea phase will take place in the Bay of Bengal with ships and from both partner militaries, with events designed to enhance interoperability between the two navies. U.S. and Bangladesh will work through coordinated deployment of surface ships, to include tactical maneuvers. Ships will also participate in a gunnery exercise, rehearse division tactics, man overboard and search and rescue procedures, and RAS approaches, all designed to enhance communication sail together in complex maneuvers.

Bangladesh marks the second CARAT exercise in 2020, following CARAT Brunei in the South China Sea, 5-9 Oct. The CARAT exercise series, celebrating its 26th anniversary, is designed to address shared maritime security concerns and strengthens partnerships between regional navies. Bangladesh has been a participant since 2011.