Indian Navy Exercise MALABAR 2021

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The 25th Edition of Naval Exercise Malabar is conducted between the Indian Navy, the United States (US) Navy, Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) & the Royal Australian Navy ( RAN) in the Western Pacific Ocean. The exercise is hosted by the US Navy from 26th – 29th August 2021.

  • It aims to support free, open & inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.
  • The sea phase of the exercise includes complex drills including warfare drills, and other manoeuvers and tactical exercises.
  • The Indian Navy participation includes Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shivalik and INS Kadmatt and P8I patrol aircraft.
  • The US Navy is represented by USS Barry, USNS Rappahannock, USNS Big Horn and P8A patrol aircraft. The JMSDF is represented by JS kaga, Murasame & Shiranui, a submarine and P1 patrol aircraft. The RAF is being represented by HMAS Warramunga.

Exercise Malabar

  1. The Malabar Started is an annual bilateral exercise in 1992 between the Indian Navy & the US Navy.
  2. Then it became a trilateral exercise, after Japan joined as the permanent member of the exercise in 2015.
  3. In the 2020 edition , Australia participated in the exercise malabar.

What happened during the exercise last year?

Last year, the exercise was conducted in two phases — the first off the coast of Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal, and then in the Arabian Sea in November. In 2019, the exercise had been conducted off the coast of Japan, and in 2018, in the Philippine Sea.

The Malabar Exercise includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres. Last year, “dual carrier” operations were carried out — joint operations centred around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.

The two carriers, along with other ships, submarines, and aircraft of the participating navies, engaged in high-intensity naval operations, including cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MiG 29K fighter aircraft from the Vikramaditya, and F-18 jets and E2C Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft from the Nimitz.

Advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions, and weapon firings were also undertaken, which demonstrated the synergy, coordination and inter-operability among the four friendly navies.

And what will happen this year?

This year, the Navy has said, Malabar will witness “complex exercises including anti-surface, anti-air, and anti-submarine warfare drills, and other manoeuvres and tactical exercises”.

Such complex exercises have further enhanced synergy and mutual understanding among the four navies in undertaking joint maritime security operations, and will go a long way in further strengthening their already close strategic partnership, it has said.

The Defence Ministry had said earlier that “exercise will strengthen the coordination between the navies of the participating countries”.

Which warships are participating this year?

The Navy mentioned on Thursday that the INS Shivalik multirole frigate, the INS Kadmatt anti-submarine warfare corvette, and P8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft will be part of the exercise.

The US Navy will be represented by the USS Barry, USNS Rappahannock, the USNS Big Horn, and P8A patrol aircraft.

The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force will be represented by the JS Kaga, JS Murasame, and JS Shiranui destroyers, in addition to a submarine and P1 patrol aircraft.

The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by the HMAS Warramunga.