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Exercise Malabar concludes in Arabian Sea

Ships of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. taking part in the Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal. File   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The 24th edition of Exercise Malabar, which concluded on Friday, was reflective of the “commitment of the participating countries to support a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific as well as a rules-based international order,” the Indian Navy said in a statement. Simultaneously, it also carried out Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) with Thailand in the Andaman Sea and delivered food aid to South Sudan in western Indian Ocean under Mission Sagar-II.

The naval exercise, consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., was held in two phases this time. Australia joined the war games for the first time since 2007. In the backdrop of COVID-19, it was conducted in a ‘non-contact at sea only’ format.

“In addition to ‘Dual Carrier’ operations, advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings were also undertaken during both phases of Malabar 2020, demonstrating the synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the four friendly navies,” the Navy said.

Aircraft carriers deployed

For Phase-II, Indian and the U.S. deployed aircraft carrier groups INS Vikramaditya and USS Nimitz respectively and P-8 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for Anti-Submarine Warfare drills. The two aircraft carriers, along with other ships, submarine 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 fighters of INS Vikramaditya andF/A-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye aircraft from USS Nimitz, the Navy said.

Phase-I of the 24th edition of Malabar was held from November 3 to 6 off the Visakhapatnam coast in the Bay of Bengal and Phase-II was held from November 17 to 20 in the northern Arabian Sea. The Navy’s participation in Phase-I was led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Eastern Fleet Commander, while Phase 2 was led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Western Fleet Commander.

Malabar, which began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, has seen increasing scope and complexity over the years. It became trilateral with the usion of Japan in 2015.

CORPAT with Thailand

The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) concluded in the Andaman Sea close to the strategic Strait of Malacca. It saw the participation of indigenously-built missile corvette INS Karmuk and Thailand Frigate HTMS Kraburi, along with Dornier maritime patrol aircraft from both the navies.

India and Thailand have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005, with the aim of keeping this vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

As part of Mission Sagar-II, INS Airavat arrived at Port of Mombasa, Kenya, carrying food aid for the people of South Sudan.

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Printable version | Nov 25, 2020 5:14:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/exercise-malabar-concludes-in-arabian-sea/article33143581.ece

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