Updated: August 22, 2021 11:16:01 pm
Two Indian Navy warships arrived in Guam on Sunday to participate in the Malabar Naval Exercise, in which all four member nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad — India, Australia, Japan and the US — have been participating since 2020.
The exercise is scheduled to begin on August 26.
The Navy said in a statement that INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt reached Guam, a US territory, “as part of their on-going deployment to nations in South East Asia and the Pacific Ocean”.
“The two ships are scheduled to participate in the annual Exercise MALABAR-21, between navies of Australia, India, Japan and the USA. MALABAR series of maritime exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral IN-USN exercise and has grown in stature over the years to include four prominent navies in the Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” the statement said.
The Navy said Vice Admiral A B Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, “will have operational discussions with Rear Admiral Leonard C ‘Butch’ Dollaga, Commander CTF-74 focusing on developing an action plan and coordinated operations in the maritime domain”.
As per the statement, “MALABAR-21 would witness high-tempo exercises conducted between Destroyers, Frigates, Corvettes, Submarines, Helicopters and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the participating navies. Complex surface, sub-surface and air operations including Live Weapon Firing Drills, Anti-Surface, Anti-Air and Anti-Submarine Warfare Drills, Joint Manoeuvres and Tactical exercises will be conducted during the exercise”.
It said the exercise will “provide an opportunity for common minded navies to enhance inter-operability, gain from best practices and develop a common understanding of procedures for Maritime Security Operations”.
The Navy said that the conducting of the exercise despite “COVID restrictions is a testimony of synergy between the participating navies and commitment to safer seas”.
The Indian warships participating in the exercise, the Navy said, “are the latest indigenously designed and built, multi-role Guided Missile Stealth Frigate and Anti-Submarine Corvette respectively and form part of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet” and are “equipped with a versatile array of weapons and sensors, can carry multi-role helicopters and represent the growth of India’s warship building capabilities”.
One of the most high-profile multilateral naval wargaming exercises, Malabar is hosted rotationally by participating nations. Last year, it was held in two phases — in the Arabian Sea and in the Bay of Bengal. Last year also marked a first since 2007 when the navies of all four Quad nations had participated.
The grouping has particularly irked China, and the exercise comes in the backdrop of India’s over 15-month military standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
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