U.S. Marines and Sri Lankan Marines conduct visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) drills, Oct. 2. (U.S. Navy/IT1 Gregory L. Parker)

TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka - U.S. and Sri Lankan maritime forces will work together for the first–ever Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with the arrival of U.S. Navy elements in Trincomalee, Oct. 1.

CARAT Sri Lanka 2017 is part of a series of bilateral CARAT military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand. The focus of CARAT is developing maritime security capabilities and increasing interoperability among participants. Skill areas exercised during CARAT include small boat operations, evidence collection, diving procedures and anti-terrorism security.

“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.

CARAT is entering its 23rd year and Sri Lanka is among the newest CARAT partner nations, demonstrating that our shared common goals and partnership during various partnered training is a valuable way to build lasting relationships. Training exchanges will be conducted on the Sri Lankan Navy base in Trincomalee from Oct. 2-6, 2017.

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.

U.S. Navy assets participating CARAT Sri Lanka 2017 include Commander, Task Group 75.5, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Underwater Construction Team 2 and U.S. Marines with Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team Pacific.