s an official Mauritian delegation set sail from the Seychelles on Tuesday for a scientific tour at Bleinheim Reef in the Chagos, it should be noted that the largest annual training exercise of US naval forces for Africa ( NAVAF) is currently being held in the Indian Ocean.
This is the 20th edition of the exercise called Cutlass Express, sponsored by the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conducted by the NAVAF. It is in the Seychelles that this edition was officially launched on Monday by Commander David Caffrey, the executive officer of the naval reserve component for the NAVAF, and Lieutenant-Colonel Jean Attala, the commander of the Seychelles Coastguard.
According to the American Embassy in Mauritius, which communicated on this major exercise, as well as specialized international sites, it will last 11 days. Namely, Cutlass Express is AFRICOM’s largest naval training exercise in the Indian Ocean. It brings together US forces and their regional partners to share their expertise and experience.
The exercise was designed to enhance regional cooperation in support of Djibouti’s code of conduct. This year it includes training in port, as well as scenarios at sea and a symposium for senior officials. These simulation exercises will test the capabilities of the ship and its sailors to conduct maritime interdiction operations against suspicious vessels, detect illicit activities and follow evidence collection procedures. The different scenarios will test the tactical skills of the participating nations in combating illicit trafficking, but they also aim to promote information sharing and general cooperation, which will help to strengthen maritime security and stability in the long term. .
“The solution to transnational threats is multinational cooperation. And that is exactly what I see before me today, many nations and organizations coming together for a common cause. I am proud to be part of this collaborative exercise. The effort and teamwork we will see at work over the next two weeks is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our forces ,” Commander David Caffrey said during the launch ceremony.
For his part, the Lieutenant Commander and Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation at the United States Embassy, Matthew Kohlmann, pointed out that this year, Cutlass Express is combined with the International Maritime Exercise (IMX) of US Central Command and includes 33 partner nations.
“We are extremely excited to bring together so many partner nations to practice operations, which will help safeguard the waters of the Western Indian Ocean. Each participating nation worked hard during the planning stages of this exercise, and now we can see all that hard work paying off. The global maritime domains will be the direct beneficiaries of these efforts,” he argued.
For the 2022 edition, Mauritius is among the 14 participating nations from East Africa, along with Seychelles, Comoros, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, United Kingdom and United States. Rwanda and Sudan are taking part in training for the first time this year. More than 90 Mauritian coastguards, as well as teams from Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) are taking part in the training, this year in Seychelles, Bahrain and Kenya. Next week, some of the Mauritian participants will travel to Seychelles aboard the patrol vessel MCGS Barracuda and the Dornier.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mardaymootoo Rassen, and Commander of the Indian National Coast Guard, Vipin Gupta, will also attend the seminar for senior executives in Bahrain. “As maritime threats affect all countries and given the immensity of the seas to monitor, Mauritius has always believed in a collaborative and cooperative approach. This multilateral exercise will enhance our maritime security efforts through cooperation with friendly nations. The National Coast Guard, by deploying its sea and air assets during the exercise, will be able to enhance its effectiveness and operational synergy, by sharing naval best practices and experiences with all participating nations ,” said Inspector Cassy. of the NCG.
Original story on Lexpress