The first phase of the three-day quadrilateral naval exercise Malabar will begin on Tuesday. India, the United States, Japan and Australia will conduct the exercise in the Bay of Bengal. The exercise will demonstrate high-levels of synergy and coordination between the navies of these four countries, officials familiar with the development said.
Showcasing the countries’ resolve to support an open Indo-Pacific region, the exercise focuses on increasing the four countries’ cooperation in the area that has been witnessing increasing Chinese military aggression.
Here is all you need to know about the Malabar exercise:
1. The first phase of the Malabar would see complex and advanced naval exercises comprising surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, officials said. Cross-deck flying and weapon firing operations are also a part of this quadrilateral exercise, they added.
2. Malabar’s 24th edition is being conducted as a “non-contact, at sea only” affair in the view of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease, an official familiar with the developments said. “The first phase will witness the participation of Indian Navy units with USN Ship USS John S McCain (a guided-missile destroyer), RAN Ship HMAS Ballarat (long-range frigate) with integral MH-60 helicopter, and JMSDF Ship JS Onami (destroyer) with an integral SH-60 helicopter,” he added.
3. “INS Ranvijay, multi-role frigate INS Shivalik, off-shore patrol vessel INS Sukanya, fleet tanker INS Shakti and submarine INS Sindhuraj will be deployed by the Indian side which is being led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan (Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet) during this phase,” the official said.
4. The Malabar, which originally started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, welcomed Japan as a permanent member in 2015. On October 20 this year, it was announced that Australia too will again participate in the exercise. Australia last participated in the Malabar exercise in 2007.
5. According to Australian defence minister Linda Reynolds, Malabar 2020 marked a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). “High-end military exercises like MALABAR are key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities, building interoperability with our close partners, and demonstrating our collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,”.