Published on: August 9, 2022

Combined Maritime Forces

Combined Maritime Forces

Why in news? 

India formally commenced cooperation with the Bahrain-based multilateral partnership, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).


  • At the India-US 2+2 in April this year, India had announced that it would join the CMF as an Associate Partner, which will strengthen cooperation in regional security in the Western Indian Ocean.
  • Joining the CMF is the latest in a series of multilateral engagements by the Indian Navy as part of India’s widening military diplomacy.
  • Commitments to resources and personnel are limited for Associate membership and it will be cooperative engagement based on the needs and requirements. The modalities for this are being worked out
  • Indian Navy could be contributing a warship when required, however, there is no deployment as of now.
  • Indian Navy has a Liaison Officer posted at the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in Bahrain who will also function as the point person for cooperation with the CMF, officials stated.

34 member grouping

  • CMF is a multi-national naval partnership to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 3.2 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
  • The 34 nation grouping is commanded by a U.S. Navy Vice Admiral, who also serves as Commander U.S. Naval Forces CENTCOM and U.S. Fifth Fleet. All three commands are co-located at U.S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain. In the immediate neighbourhood, Pakistan is a full member of CMF.
  • It is comprised of three task forces: CTF 150 (maritime security and counter-terrorism), CTF 151 (counter piracy) and CTF 152 (Arabian Gulf security and cooperation).
  • As per CMF’s website, it is a flexible organisation and members are not bound by either a political or military mandate. “Contributions can vary from the provision of a liaison officer at CMF HQ in Bahrain to the supply of warships or support vessels in task forces, and maritime reconnaissance aircraft based on land.
  • Under this framework, India has in the past cooperated with CMF on various occasions. For instance, the CMF’s CTF 151 has coordinated with Indian and Chinese warships deployed on anti-piracy duties to patrol the Maritime Security Transit Corridor.