The United States military concluded its first-ever Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise for Sri Lankan soldiers, which included training in “anti-terrorism security”, in Trincomalee this week.
The five-day training program saw US Marines with Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific train Sri Lankan naval troops as part of an exercise “designed to enhance maritime security skills and operations cohesiveness among participating forces,” according to the US military.
This is the first time that Sri Lanka has participated in the program, which also involves Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand.
“The U.S. Navy is pleased to add Sri Lanka to our list of CARAT partners in 2017 as part of our larger efforts to expand both bilateral and multilateral maritime security engagement across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Commodore Robert Baughman, Commander, Task Force-75.
Skill areas exercised during the CARAT include small boat operations, evidence collection, diving procedures and anti-terrorism security, said a US press release.
The Sri Lankan Navy claimed the exercise was “premier naval engagement”.
"The week-long exercise is designed to enhance maritime security skills and operations cohesiveness among participating forces, it also focuses on relationship building between military participants through sports and social events," it added.
Both US and Sri Lankan troops also took part in a ceremony for a new classroom that the US navy built in Trincomalee, through a US-Sri Lanka ‘engineering civic action program’.
As part of the exercise, the US Navy Ship Lewis and Clark also arrived at Trincomalee.
The latest CARAT program comes amidst a series of US military engagements with Sri Lankan security forces.