TIGER TRIUMPH – India-US Tri-Services Exercise Starts On A Good Note

Tiger Triumph Exercise: The maiden India-US joint tri-services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise named ‘Tiger Triumph’ is scheduled to begin at Visakhapatnam from November 13. Tiger Triumph is the first U.S.-India military exercise to comprise all three of India’s military services i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force and it represents a landmark in an increasingly important bilateral military partnership.

In consonance with the growing partnership between India and the US, Tiger Triumph is scheduled to be held between November 13 to 21, 2019.

The exercise is aimed to focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and it will include amphibious operations. Where the US Marine Corps Forces is heading the planning and drafting efforts, the Department of Defence hopes to extend the role for the Army and Air Force in the near future.

US Navy Ship Germantown with troops from the US Third Marine Division would be representing the US workforce. The DoD expects this tri-service exercise with India to become an annual event.

Personnel from both navies would also participate in training visits, subject matter expert exchanges, sports events, and social interactions. On completion of the Harbour Phase, the ships, with troops embarked, would sail for the sea phase and undertake maritime, amphibious and HADR operations.

Tiger Triumph is expected to increase U.S.-Indian military compatibility and effectiveness. It is aimed to forge important relationships between the two militaries and expand US’s regional knowledge.

Moreover, the exercise represents a tangible and necessary implementation of a series of U.S. strategic pronouncements regarding the importance of U.S. international partnerships in general and India in particular.

According to the 2017 National Security Strategy, the U.S. welcomes “India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner.” It declared unambiguously that “the U.S. will expand our defence and security partnership with India.”

A militarily capable and economically prosperous like India can serve as an additional centre of power in the region to deter aggression by China and can help defend a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific for the US according to the DoD’s 2019 Indo-Pacific Strategy Report.

Although there are many obstacles, particularly with respect to Russia, India’s strategic interests, democratic character, opposition to Islamist terrorism and strong diplomatic ties with the United States makes both nations an ideal partner.

As India shares a long disputed border with China highlighted by the 2017 Doklam event, India shares many of Washington’s concerns regarding Beijing. Based on these common interests and values, the U.S. declared India in 2016 a major defence partner.

India and the US have also disclosed a number of important agreements. This includes the 2016 Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, which provides formal access to each country’s military facilities for fuelling and logistical support.

It also includes the 2018 Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement, which allows the U.S. to transfer secure data and communication equipment to India. The two countries have also conducted defence hardware trade around USD 18 billion over the last 10 years and many more defence deals are in the pipeline.

It is difficult to propose a sustainable and successful long-term U.S. strategy to curb Beijing’s aggression that does not incorporate a closer and more effective U.S. security partnership with India. Tiger Triumph thus represents an iconic symbol in the partnership on which both the countries should continue to work on.