he Indian navy conducts a series of 'war games' with the navies of various countries: Varuna, with the French; Konkan, with the British; Indra with the Russians; and Simbex, with Singapore.
And then there is the Malabar series, which teams the Indian navy with that of the United States.
Conceived in 1992 and begun in 1994 with one ship apiece from the two participating countries, Malabar has grown over the years in size and scope.
2005 was a banner year - Malabar, that year, were the behemoths of the sea, the aircraft carriers. INS Viraat led the Indian team; the USS Nimitz fronted the US naval contingent.
The latest edition, Malabar 2006, from October 24 thru November 4, is the eighth in a series that was put in cold storage between 1997 and 2002 thanks to the Pokharan nuclear tests. True to the tradition of escalating the scope of each successive exercise, this year the Indian and US naval teams were been joined by a frigate flying the flag of the Canadian Navy.
On November 29, the USS Boxer, the lead ship in the exercise, hosted a press party on board, for a behind the scenes look. The report follows:
Text: Prem Panicker | Photographs: Dominic Xavier
Image: Peak helicopter traffic time on the deck of the USS Boxer
Also See: The amazing IAF planes