Indo-Pacific forces from 21 nations kick off largest iteration to date

Maritime forces from 21 Indo-Pacific partner nations including the U.S. Navy, U.S interagencies, and international organizations have started the 20th iteration of Southeast Asia cooperation and training (SEACAT) in Singapore.

The exercise, which began on 10 August 2021 virtually, is designed to enhance cooperation among Southeast Asia countries and provide mutual support and a common goal to address crises, contingencies, and illegal activities in the maritime industry.

The problems are being addressed by using standardized tactics, techniques, and procedures.

The 21 participants include the countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

 The exercise will be carried out with 10 ships and more than 400 personnel.

For the first time, international organizations and non-governmental organizations play a role in SEACAT by providing a greater understanding of the operational environment through scenario injects designed to simulate real-world situations that enhance understanding and adherence to accepted rules, laws, and norms.

Participants include the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“This year’s SEACAT aims to enhance our interoperability as we address our shared maritime security concerns and preserve rules-based international order,” said Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

The exercise scenarios are designed to encourage countries to use maritime forces to enhance understanding of the operational environment, build capacity for humanitarian support missions, and uphold international laws and norms, the statement revealed.

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Photo: U.S. 7th Fleet