US Navy leads largest maritime exercise in Middle East
Posted on: 11 Apr 2016 14:59:30
11 April 2016 Current Affairs: The United States Navy is leading the largest maritime exercise in the Middle East with 30 countries participating in the event.The International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) aims to protect international trade routes against possible threats posed by terrorist groups like the so-called Islamic State and al-Qaeda, according to US officials.The exercise was organized by US Naval Forces Central Command and began Monday in Bahrain, home to the US 5th Fleet.US Naval Forces Central Command Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan highlighted the importance of the exercise in protecting shipping routes, saying, "We know that they want to disturb trade linesThe IMCMEX, which ends on April 26, focuses on operations such as mine countermeasures, infrastructure protection, and maritime security operations to protect civilian shipping.New technologies such as unmanned underwater vehicles and the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County are being demonstrated.The 12-day annual drills, dubbed Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder), began with the participation of some 5,000 US troops, 4,000 Filipino soldiers, and 80 Australian forces.The United States has recently increased its military presence in the Middle East as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.
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