In the midst of its bitter border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, India will hold the first phase of the Malabar naval exercise with navies of the US, Japan and Australia from November 3 to 6 in the Bay of Bengal off Visakhapatnam coast, officials said on Friday.
The second phase of the mega exercise is scheduled to be held from November 17 to 20 in the Arabian sea, they said.
Last week, India announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar exercise which effectively makes it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.
China has been suspicious about the purpose of the Malabar exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
The officials said the first phase of the drill would witness complex and advanced naval exercises, including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, besides cross-deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.
The Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian Navy and the US Navy in the Indian Ocean. Japan became a permanent member in 2015. And this year Australia is also going to participate in the Malabar Exercise.
The annual exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.
The Indian Navy will deploy a number of key platforms which will include destroyer INS Ranvijay, frigate INS Shivalik, off-shore patrol vessel INS Sukanya, fleet support ship INS Shakti and submarine INS Sindhuraj.
In addition, advanced jet trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier Do 228 maritime patrol aircraft, and a number of helicopters such as Kamov and Sea King will also be participating in the exercise, the officials said.