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.