The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Montana National Guard, a part of the United States Army and National Guard, have launched a joint military exercise named ‘Black Marlin’. This exercise, the fourth in the series and scheduled to run until 28 May, signifies an important addition to the ongoing collaboration between the two nations’ militaries, according to the MNDF.

The inauguration ceremony for the exercise was held at the Bandaarakoshi military base in Malé on Sunday. Several high-ranking officials attended the ceremony, including Chief of Defence Forces Major General Ibrahim Hilmy, US Ambassador to the Maldives Hugo Yon, and Director and Adjutant General of the Montana National Guard Major General J. Peter Hronek.

The ‘Black Marlin’ exercise will encompass five Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) programmes, covering diverse areas such as intelligence, logistics, medical, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), and infantry. The infantry-related SMEEs will be conducted on Kadhdhoo Island, Laamu Atoll, while the other SMEEs will take place in Malé, according to the MNDF.

The exercises also include a Field Grade Exchange Programme, which aims to identify and improve areas related to staff officer responsibilities, military planning processes, and training management, said MNDF.

Major General Hronek also called on Minister of Defence Mohamed Ghassan Maumoon on Sunday. The defence ministry stated that their discussions were centred around strengthening the relationship between the MNDF and the Montana National Guard and enhancing defence and military ties between the two countries.