India will conduct the first phase of the Malabar naval exercise with forces of the United States, Japan, and Australia between November 3 and November 6 in the Bay of Bengal off the Visakhapatnam coast, PTI reported, citing officials on Friday.
On October 19, India invited Australia to join high-level Malabar naval exercises it holds each year with the United States and Japan, dismissing Chinese concerns that the exercises destabilise the region.
The second phase of the exercise will be held between November 17 and November 20. This is reportedly the first time all the four Quad partners – India, the United States, Australia, and Japan – will participate in an exercise of this magnitude, according to NDTV.
“The exercise, being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise 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 statement said, according to the news channel.
The Indian Navy participation in phase one will be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, the flag officer commanding eastern fleet. The Indian Navy vessels that will be part of the exercise include the “destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off Shore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, Fleet Support Ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj”, the Navy said.
The first phase of the drill will focus on complex, advanced naval exercises, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions, and weapon firing exercises, among others.
“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,” a Navy official said, according to The Hindu.
In 1992, Malabar started as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States. It became trilateral in 2015 with the inclusion of Japan.