High-voltage Malabar Exercise Begins off Sydney on Friday

Published By: Saurabh Verma

Last Updated: August 10, 2023, 21:07 IST

Vice admiral Saito Akira Commander in Chief of Japan Self Defense Fleet, Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Commander Australian Fleet, Vice Admiral Dinesh Tripathi Commanding in Chief of India’s Western Naval Command, and Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet attend to media as India, Japan, US, Australia will hold first Malabar naval exercise off Australia, in Sydney, Australia, August 10, 2023. REUTERS/Kirsty Needham

Indian Navy’s indigenous frontline warships INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata are participating in the high-voltage exercise, officials said

The Malabar exercise featuring the navies of all four Quad countries — India, the US, Australia and Japan — will take place off Sydney from August 11 to 21 with an aim to expand their overall maritime cooperation.

Indian Navy’s indigenous frontline warships INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata are participating in the high-voltage exercise, officials said.

The annual wargame will include both sea and harbour phases with the focus expected to be on expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific that has been witnessing growing military muscle flexing by China, they said.

The harbour phase involves wide-ranging activities such as cross-deck visits, professional exchanges and interactions.

“The sea phase will include various complex and high intensity exercises in all three domains of warfare, encompassing anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine exercises including live weapon firing drills,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

“The exercise provides an opportunity to the Indian Navy to enhance and demonstrate interoperability and also gain from the best practices in maritime security operations from its partner nations,” it said.

Following India’s invitation, Australia participated in the Malabar exercise in 2020, effectively making it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.

Australia participated in subsequent exercises as well.

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 of the exercise in 2015.

This annual exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.

In 2020, the exercise was hosted in two phases in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, while in 2021, the mega wargame took place off the coast of Guam in the Western Pacific.

Last year, it was hosted by Japan off Yokosuka island near the East China Sea.

This year marks the 27th edition of the Malabar exercise.

There have been mounting global concerns over China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

India, the US, Australia, Japan and many other like-minded countries are working towards ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

The bilateral defence and strategic ties between India and Australia are on an upward trajectory in the last few years.

In June 2020, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement allows the militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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