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Home >News >India >First phase of four-nation Malabar naval exercise kicks off tomorrow

New Delhi: The 24th edition of the Malabar naval exercise is scheduled to be held in two phases in November 2020 with the first phase set to kick off tomorrow. "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 3-6 November, 2020," said Ministry of Defence in an official statement on Tuesday.

The 2020 edition will now witness participation of the RAN in this joint maritime exercise.

Phase-1 of Malabar 20 will witness 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 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.

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. Malabar 20 Phase 1 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.

Phase 2 of Malabar 20 is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.

Last month, India announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar exercise, which effectively makes it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.

China has been suspicious about the purpose of the Malabar exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The invitation by India to the Australian Navy for the exercise came two weeks after foreign ministers of the 'Quad' member nations held extensive talks in Tokyo with a focus on enhancing their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, a region where China has been expanding its military influence.

The officials said the first phase of the drill would witness complex and advanced naval exercises, including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, besides cross-deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.

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