India, the US, Japan, and Australia on Tuesday kicked off the second phase of this year’s Malabar naval drills in the Bay of Bengal. The three-day exercise seeks to build on the synergy, coordination, and interoperability developed during the first phase held in August, the Indian Navy said.
The first phase of the exercise was conducted off the Pacific Ocean island of Guam from August 26-29. It involved destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters, long-range maritime patrol aircraft, and elite special forces including the US Navy SEALs and the Indian Navy’s marine commandos.
The Indian Navy is taking part in the second phase with INS Ranvijay, INS Satpura, P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, and a submarine. The US Navy is represented by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson along with USS Lake Champlain and USS Stockdale.
Japan is taking part with JS Kaga and JS Murasame and the Royal Australian Navy has sent HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius for the drills.The Malabar series of exercises began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992.
It has increased in scope and complexity over the years. In the 2005 edition of the drills, the aircraft carriers from the Indian and the US Navy operated together for the first time. In 2014, the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force became a permanent participant in the drills. Australia joined the drills as a permanent participant last year.
The navies earlier carried out complex naval drills under the Malabar banner in November 2020 in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.Beijing has been wary of the Quadrilateral security dialogue or Quad that was revived in late 2017 by India, the US, Australia, and Japan.
The four countries upgraded the forum to the ministerial level in 2019. China has been monitoring the activities of the Quad countries.From carrying out naval drills with like-minded countries to reaching out to states in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy is focusing on checking China’s rising ambitions in the region. It has been sending out a message that Beijing’s power play in the South China Sea cannot be replicated in the Indian Ocean.
Courtesy – Hindustan Times