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Malabar naval exercise to begin next week off A.P. coast

In this file photo, warships take part in Malabar exercise.   | Photo Credit: T.K. Rohit

The first phase of the Malabar Naval exercise including Australia along with Japan and the U.S., is scheduled to be held next week off the Visakhapatnam coast. This is the first time Australia will be joining the exercise after 2007 and it will bring all four countries of the Quadrilateral grouping together for military games.

Over three years after Canberra’s request to join the exercise, last week India announced that Australian Navy would participate in Malabar 2020.

Also read: A ‘mistake’ to have walked out of Quad, Malabar exercise in 2008: Australian envoy Barry O’Farrell

“Phase 1 of the Exercise Malabar 2020 involving participation by Indian Navy, United States Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, and Royal Australian Navy is set to commence off Vishakhapatnam in Bay of Bengal from November 3 to 6,” a defence official said on Friday.

The second phase is scheduled to be held from November 17 to 20 in the Arabian Sea, another official said.

Also read: India open to including Australia in Malabar naval exercise

The planning conference for the exercise was held virtually to work out the modalities.

Malabar began as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992 and became trilateral in 2015 with the addition of Japan.

Phase-1 of Malabar will see participation of U.S. guided missile destroyer USS John S McCain, Australian long range frigate HMAS Ballarat with integral MH-60 helicopter, and Japanese destroyer JS Onami with integral SH-60 helicopter, the first official said.

The Indian side for Phase-I led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, will see participation of destroyer INS Ranvijay, stealth frigate INS Shivalik, off-shore patrol vessel INS Sukanya, fleet support ship INS Shakti and submarine INS Sindhuraj, the official said.

“In addition, Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters will also be participating in the exercise,” the official said.

The exercise, being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 pandemic, will showcase the “high-levels of synergy and coordination between the friendly navies, which is based on their shared values and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order,” the official added.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 11:30:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/malabar-exercise-first-phase-to-take-place-from-nov-3-6-in-bay-of-bengal/article32983918.ece

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