Largest US naval training operation in Indian Ocean kicks off in Seychelles
Simulations involving piracy, illegal trafficking and illegal fishing in Cutlass Express 2016. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) – About 40 Seychellois soldiers are taking part in Exercise Cutlass Expressthe largest US military training operation organized by US naval forces in the Indian Ocean, according to a press release from the US Embassy in Mauritius on Monday.
Fourteen countries are participating in this year’s exercise, including Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States. Rwanda and Sudan are participating in the training for the first time, the embassy said.
The US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) exercise, held regularly in the region, will last 11 days and will include training in port as well as scenarios at sea and a symposium for senior leaders. Most of the training is aimed at simulating scenarios for detecting and apprehending suspicious vessels engaged in illicit activities.
The exercise was opened on Monday by the Naval Reserve Component NAVAF Executive Officer, Commander David Caffrey, and Lieutenant Colonel Jean Attala, the Commander of the Seychelles Coastguard.
|the Exercise Cutlass Express 2022 was launched in the Seychelles on Monday. (U.S. Embassy Mauritius) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
In a press release, Caffrey said, “The solution to transnational threats is multinational cooperation. And that is exactly what I see before me today, many nations and organizations united in a common cause. I am proud to be part of this collaborative exercise. The effort and teamwork that we will see over the next two weeks is a testament to the professionalism and dedication of our forces. »
The SNA contacted the Seychelles Defense Forces (SDF) for more information on the Seychelles component, but was informed that the SDF will be giving press interviews after the end of the exercise.
Reconciliation with the United States
The Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has long been a strategic military location for world powers, namely India, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, as a port a safe stopover point for their naval forces to refuel and rest, but also as a surveillance post for maritime activities and intelligence in the region.
The island state has a long-standing military cooperation with these countries and relies on their help to police its vast exclusive economic zone of 1.4 million square kilometers.
In July 2021, Seychelles – a member of the Non-Aligned Movement – turned a page in its diplomatic history by signing its first-ever bilateral maritime agreement with the US government, allowing US naval forces to work on Seychelles military vessels. and vice versa. , in maritime operations.
This agreement is the first of its kind between the two countries and the first between the United States and an East African country.