PartnershipsSouth Asia

HADR-focused Tiger Triumph bolsters readiness, interoperability, relationships


Indian and United States armed forces launched their third iteration of the Tiger Triumph amphibious exercise in late March 2024. Two weeks of combined training near Visakhapatnam and Kakinada, India, focused on interoperability in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). The event enables both militaries to improve readiness and work toward mutual security objectives in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.

“The exercise represents the robust strategic partnership between both countries and aims to share best practices and standard operating procedures in undertaking multinational HADR operations,” India’s Ministry of Defence stated.

Tiger Triumph 2024 brought Indian and U.S. military personnel to Visakhapatnam and Kakinada, India, for training to bolster interoperability and cultural exchanges to build friendships.

Rear Adm. Joaquin Martinez, commander of the U.S. joint force for the exercise, said the largest and most complex iteration of the event yet incorporated troops, ships, aircraft and other assets from each nation’s Air Force, Army and Navy, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps.

“First and foremost, our message to one another is that we are close friends that think alike, that feel alike; now the question is can we move alike,” U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti told participants. “Can we integrate two different, great militaries to seamlessly, in times of emergency, act hand in hand?”

Troops rehearsed interoperability in large-scale, joint HADR operations and standard operating procedures for the combined forces. At sea, Indian and U.S. forces practiced combined maneuvers, command and control, and sustainment.

They also demonstrated coordinated amphibious capabilities with a ship-to-shore landing and drills that involved securing a perimeter and establishing a simulated camp for people displaced by disaster, The Economic Times newspaper reported. The training reflected a commitment to humanitarian assistance and highlighted the importance of preparing for HADR missions.

Nonconventional operations training, including convoy, cordon-and-search, and counter-ambush drills, also bolstered capabilities to combat asymmetric threats, “demonstrating the readiness of the forces to tackle diverse challenges,” an Indian defense official told The Economic Times.

“We get to learn from each other, as to why they’re doing and what they’re doing and how we can incorporate what they do well into our own procedures,” Indian Navy Vice Adm. Rajesh Pendharkar said during opening ceremonies aboard the INS Jalashwa, a landing platform dock originally commissioned as the USS Trenton, which India procured from the U.S. “And therefore, [we] have that collective and better and synergized response to any situation.”

While in port, Tiger Triumph participants made ship visits, conducted expert exchanges and strengthened relationships with sports competitions. More than 100 U.S. Marines and Sailors met with Indian National Cadet Corps members and students at Andhra University and visited a foster home for boys in Visakhapatnam. Participants painted murals and planted trees as symbols of the India-U.S. partnership.

More than 300 Indian and U.S. service members also celebrated Holi, the festival of colors that marks the onset of spring in India. “While we work together at military exercises, we must always look for opportunities like this to share our bonds of friendship,” Indian Navy Capt. Rajan Kapoor said. “Together we are stronger, and we will cherish these memories for a very long time.”

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