India, the United States, Japan and Australia will kick off the 25th edition of the Malabar naval exercise off the coast of the Pacific island Guam on Thursday.
The latest edition – Malabar 21, will be held from August 26 to 29 in the Philippine Sea, off the coast of Guam. All the four members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, shortly referred to as Quad, are participating in the exercise since 2020.
The exercise aims to increase interoperability amongst the participating navies, develop common understanding and SOPs for Maritime Security Operations, the Indian Navy said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Indian Navy has deployed two Indian warships – Frigate INS Shivalik and Anti-Submarine Corvette INS Kadmatt, a P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft, and the navy’s marine commandos (MARCOS) in this year’s Malabar exercise.
“The navies of the four quad nations will be holding exercises involving destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters, long-range maritime patrol aircraft and elite special forces elements including the US Navy SEALs and MARCOS,” Indian Navy said in a statement to the press on August 25.
Indian Navy’s Announcement on Malabar exercises. Malabar exercises involves participation of all 4 Quad member countries. pic.twitter.com/lFrlFRF20F— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) August 26, 2021
In 2020, the Quad navies had carried out complex naval exercises in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
The US Navy will be represented by an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, two tankers and P-8A long-range maritime patrol aircraft. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force has sent a helicopter carrier, two destroyers, a submarine and Kawasaki P1 maritime patrol aircraft, and the Royal Australian Navy has deployed a frigate. The exercise ends on August 29.
“A wide range of surface, sub-surface, and air operations will be carried out by the participating navies during the exercise. Special operations teams – US Navy SEALs, Indian MARCOS and Special Boarding Units of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) – will carry out a visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) training and simulated hostage rescue operations,” a senior official said to the Hindustan Times.
The Malabar series of exercises, an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US, first began in 1992. The naval drills have attained significance in the last few years with the addition of Japan and Australia. Japan became a permanent partner in 2015, while Australia participated in the exercise in 2020 on India’s invitation, making it a full-time member of Quad.