India sends ships to join 4-nation Malabar-21 drill

India sends ships to participate in 4-nation Malabar-21 drill with Japan, Australia and US

The Indian Navy warships – INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt – and P8I patrol aircraft are participating in the Malabar 2021 exercise

Indian Naval Ships Shivalik and Kadmatt arrived at Guam, an Island Territory of the USA, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021 as part of their on-going deployment to nations in South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean. Credit: PTI Photo

India is participating in a naval exercise with the United States, Japan and Australia in the Western Pacific Ocean from Thursday to Sunday – the second such drill after the four democratic nations last year added a military heft to the Quad, a coalition they forged to contain communist China.

The Indian Navy warships – INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt – and P8I patrol aircraft are participating in the Malabar 2021 exercise, which the US Navy is hosting off the coast of Guam in the Western Pacific Ocean.

The annual Malabar Naval Exercise started as a bilateral drill by Indian Navy and the US Navy in 1992. It turned into an India-US-Japan trilateral drill in 2015, when the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force first participated in it. The Royal Australian Navy joined it last year, turning it into a four-nation naval drill.

The Malabar-21 from Thursday to Sunday will witness complex exercises, including anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drill as well as other manoeuvres and tactical exercises. “The exercise will provide an opportunity for participating navies to derive benefit from each other’s expertise and experiences,” the Ministry of Defence stated in New Delhi on Saturday.

The first four-nation Malabar Naval Exercise took place in the Bay of Bengal and northern Arabian Sea last year after New Delhi, Canberra, Tokyo and Washington D.C. decided to add a military dimension to the Quad to counter growing belligerence of China – not only along its Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India in eastern Ladakh, but also in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Taiwan Strait and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Indian Navy warships are led by Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, Flag Officer Commanding of the Eastern Fleet. The US Navy will be represented by USS Barry, USNS Rappahannock, USNS Big Horn and P8A patrol aircraft. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force will be represented by JS Kaga, Murasame and Shiranui, in addition to a submarine and P1 patrol aircraft. The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by HMAS Warramunga, the Indian Navy stated.

"The conduct of the exercise while observing health protocols during the Covid-19 global pandemic is a testimony to the synergy between the participating navies and our shared vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region," the Indian Navy stated.

 

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