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India’s Largest Naval War Game in Bay of Bengal

The largest-ever war game hosted by the Indian Navy, codenamed Malabar CY 07-2, kicked off in the Bay of Bengal from 4-9 September. However, this has stirred a hornet’s nest in the country. Opinions remain divided for and against New Delhi’s military engagement with the US.

Twenty-four warships from five countries are taking part in the Malabar series of naval exercises at 100 nautical miles west of the Andamans and 500 miles East of the Indian shores in the Bay of Bengal.

The US will have major presence in the exercise with participation of its 13 warships erasing the memories of the USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict. The US contingent includes nuclear powered submarine USS Chicago, Air carriers USS Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk.

Nevertheless, in the run-up to the exercise things were not as smooth as they appeared to be. The Left parties geared up for a major protest against this multi-national naval exercise. Its criticism stems from the fact that any strategic pact with the United States would be fraught with dangerous implications. It is of the view that such an exercise would give the U.S. an opportunity to achieve its long-cherished hegemony in the Indian waters. Not only that it would serve Washington ’s agenda to make India a military base for its operations in South-east Asia.

The Left brigade also thinks that the multi-lateral naval exercise is an attempt to co-opt India into the Israel-U.S. axis. It further suspects that the experience the US may gain from such an exercise could be passed on to Pakistan. It therefore decided to mobilize public opinion against the multi-lateral naval exercise cautioning India becoming another pawn in the hands of the imperialist America.

In Kolkatta the left front took out a mammoth procession on September 1 to highlight the “dangerous implications” of the multilateral naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal . The march coincided with Nazi Germany’s unprovoked attack on Poland on this day in 1939 that sparked off the World War II. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee released a white pigeon on the occasion and procession carried placards ‘No war, only peace’.