Quad Navies Hold Malabar Exercise In Bay Of Bengal

The first phase of Malabar naval exercise commenced off Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday with participation by Indian Navy (IN), United States Navy (USN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), and Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

The 24th edition of the Malabar naval exercise is scheduled in two phases this month. It will display “high-levels of synergy and coordination” based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.

It is for first time in more than a decade that the exercise will see the participation of all four Quad countries. Australia is taking part in the exercise after 2007.

The first phase of the exercise will continue till November 6 and will witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.

The first phase of Malabar 20 will witness the participation of Indian Navy units with United States Ship (USS) John S McCain (guided-missile destroyer), Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Ballarat (long range frigates) with integral MH-60 helicopter and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship (JMSDF) Onami (destroyer) with integral SH-60 helicopter.

The Indian Navy participation in phase one is being led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.

Indian Navy units participating in the exercise include destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, offshore patrol vessel Sukanya, fleet support ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj.

In addition, advanced jet trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters will also be participating in the exercise.

The exercise, being conducted as a “non-contact, at sea only” in view of COVID-19 pandemic, will showcase the “high-levels of synergy and coordination between the friendly navies, which is based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order”, a Defence Ministry release had said on Monday.

Malabar exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral IN-USN exercise. JMSDF joined Malabar in 2015. The second phase of Malabar 20 is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.

The exercise comes amid border tensions between India and China. The US is among countries that have expressed concern over attempts of China to flex military muscle in the neigbhourhood. (ANI)

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