Tiger Triumph-24: India-US Bilateral HADR Exercise

The Indian and United States (US) navies have commenced a bilateral Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise called “Tiger Triumph-24” on India’s eastern seaboard. The week-long exercise, which began on March 18, 2024, will involve various assets from the Indian Navy, Indian Army, and Indian Air Force, as well as warships and troops from the US Navy, US Marine Corps, and US Army.

Origins of the India-US Maritime Relationship:

The close maritime relationship between the US and Indian navies can be traced back to the Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004. The devastating disaster, triggered by an undersea earthquake, resulted in the loss of approximately 250,000 lives across 14 countries in the Indian Ocean region. In response to the catastrophe, the Indian Navy swiftly mobilized its ships on humanitarian missions to aid the affected countries, while the US Navy dispatched naval flotillas to link up with the Indian Navy in HADR efforts.

Lessons Learned from the 2004 Tsunami:

The 2004 tsunami response highlighted the importance of specialized HADR equipment and capabilities. While the Indian Navy demonstrated remarkable courage and resourcefulness in deploying its available assets, including destroyers and frigates, for humanitarian aid missions, the US Navy showcased its advanced HADR capabilities. These included desalination plants, rapid action medical teams (RAMT), floating hospitals, and foreign language and cultural experts.

Tiger Triumph-24 Exercise:

The Tiger Triumph-24 exercise aims to develop interoperability between the US and Indian forces for conducting HADR operations and refine Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to enable rapid and smooth coordination between the two countries. The exercise is divided into two phases:

Harbour Phase (March 18-25, 2024): During this phase, personnel from both navies engage in training visits, subject matter expert exchanges, sports events, and social interactions.

Sea Phase: Following the Harbour Phase, the ships, with troops embarked, will sail for the Sea Phase to undertake maritime, amphibious, and HADR operations. The joint exercise will conclude with a closing ceremony upon completion of the Sea Phase.

Assets Involved:

The Indian Navy’s participation in Tiger Triumph-24 includes ships with integral helicopters and landing crafts, while the Indian Army contributes personnel and vehicles. The Indian Air Force will also deploy aircraft for the exercise.

The US military is represented by US Navy warships, with embarked troops from the US Marine Corps and the US Army.

India-US Defence Cooperation:

Leading up to the exercise, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a telephonic conversation with his US counterpart, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, on March 18, 2024. Secretary Austin appreciated the Indian Navy’s crucial role in anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. The two leaders discussed ways to implement the India-US Defence Cooperation Roadmap, which was concluded in the previous year, and explored other defence industrial cooperation issues, such as the repair of US naval ships in Indian shipyards.

Important Facts for Exams

  • The name “Tiger Triumph” is derived from the national animals of both countries: the Bengal Tiger for India and the Bald Eagle for the United States.
  • The Indian Navy’s swift response to the 2004 tsunami was one of the largest disaster relief operations undertaken by the force, involving over 30 ships, 20 helicopters, and 5,500 personnel.
  • The US Navy’s “Operation Unified Assistance” in response to the 2004 tsunami was one of the largest humanitarian aid operations in its history, involving more than 15,000 US military personnel, 25 ships, and 100 aircraft.

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