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Malabar Military Exercise Takes Off With Quad From Tomorrow

The MALABAR naval exercise is scheduled in two phases in November 2020. Phase 1 of the Exercise MALABAR 20 involving participation by Indian Navy (IN), United States Navy (USN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is set to commence off Visakhapatnam in Bay of Bengal from 03 to 06 November 2020.

Photo Credit : IN

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Malabar Exercise 2019

The 24th edition of the MALABAR naval exercise is scheduled in two phases in November 2020. Phase 1 of the Exercise MALABAR 20 involving participation by Indian Navy (IN), United States Navy (USN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is set to commence off Visakhapatnam in Bay of Bengal from 03 to 06 November 2020.

During the MALABAR 20 Phase1, four navies will participate in complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.

MALABAR series of maritime exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral IN-USN exercise. JMSDF joined MALABAR in 2015. The 2020 edition will now witness participation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in this joint maritime exercise.

The issue of Australia’s inclusion in Malabar was one of key areas that came up for discussion at the Quad foreign ministers meet in Tokyo in October.

Australia accepted the invitation from India to participate crucial in Exercise MALABAR 2020. Though, Australia had participated in Exercise MALABAR in 2007 but Australia's participation was abruptly halted as China raised the issue, calling it anti- China and an Asian-NATO. 

Australia’s re-entry into India’s flagship naval exercises with the US and Japan confirms the formation of the Quadrilateral, better known as 'the quad'. In the rapidly changing maritime environment, India's response hints a change of India's defensive strategy to one which is tune to the present reality and one that fits into the role of Indian navy as a net security provider to the littorals in the Indian Ocean Region.


Naval exercise will witness participation from 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 1 will be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet. Indian Navy units participating in the exercise include destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off Shore 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.  

According to the Indian navy, the Malabar 20, 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. MALABAR 20 Phase1 would 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 Phase 2 of MALABAR 20 will commence in mid-November 2020 in the Arabian Sea. Phase 2 will further build up on the complexity of exercise and involve much tactical maneuverability and interoperability among the navies.