CARAT: Joint Naval Exercise by Bangladesh and US
On November 4, 2020, Bangladesh and United States held a joint Naval Exercise CARAT. CARAT is Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. The exercise was held at Chittagong.
Historically, the exercise involves people-to-people interactions, variety of professional exchanges, community relations project, Subject Matter Expert exchanges and social events. Due to COVID-19, the exercise was held virtually.
About the Exercise
Certain events of the exercise are to be held virtually. It includes Maritime Domain Awareness, Replenishment at Sea training, legal regulations at sea and aviation best practices of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The is the first year, the exercise is supported by United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the Bali Process Regional Support Office.
Role of UNODC in the exercise
The UNODC will offer education on technical assistance to combat maritime crime, smuggling of migrants.
It is a series of annual bilateral military exercise conducted by the US Pacific fleet with countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand. The focus of the exercise is mainly on ASEAN. However, it is also held with non-ASEAN members such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
This year, Bangladesh was the second to hold the exercise after Brunei. CARAT Brunei was held in South China sea between October 5 and October 9, 2020.
Significance of Chittagong to India
The port is highly important for the North East India.
In 2015, India and Bangladesh signed agreements to use the Chittagong port for transshipment of goods from and to India. In October 2018, the countries signed agreements to use Mongla port for transshipment of goods.
Eight routes were provided under the agreement to enable access to the North East Region via Bangladesh.
This will help reduce time, distance and logistical cost for transportation of goods from India to the North Eastern region.