US says Indian Ocean wargames not aimed at China, Iran

ON BOARD THE USS KITTY HAWK, Sept 7, 2007 (AFP) – A top US navy commander involved in Indian Ocean wargames said Friday the exercises were not aimed at sending a message to either China or Iran. “We are flexible enough to learn the different ways from the international navies and it is easy for us to become friends on humanitarian issues,” said Japan naval chief Yogi Koda on board the Kitty Hawk, as it engaged the other ships in a mock battle. Seventh Fleet commander William Crowder was speaking aboard USS Kitty Hawk, the US navy’s second largest supercarrier, as the six-day exercises hosted by India that began on Tuesday neared a close.

“There is no connection between these manoeuvres and anything else,” Crowder said in reply to reporters’ questions over whether the wargames were intended to send signals to Tehran and Beijing.

“The US has been jointly exercising with India since 1994 and the only thing new this time is that India has invited three more countries… This is not aimed against anyone,” the fleet commander added.

The movements of US carrier groups are being closely watched amid mounting tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme, seen by Washington and its Western allies a