Exercise Malabar could expand, up to Quad partners to decide: US Admiral

U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday with Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, October 12, 2021   | Photo Credit: Indian Navy

As the Quad group of countries began the Phase II of the Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday said the exercise could expand and it is up to the “partners inside the Quad” to discuss that.

“With respect to Malabar, in the future the exercise could expand. It is up to the partners inside the Quad to discuss that. But remember there are multiple exercises that go on in the Indo-Pacific and globally every year which bring in like-minded partners and allies together to work together…,” Adm. Gilday said in a virtual interaction with a small group of journalists. He is on a five-day official visit to India from October 11.

Stating that the India-U.S. relationship was central to a peaceful, free and stable Indo-Pacific, the Admiral said what they want to do “is really key on those capabilities that we find, fill gaps between each other’s Navies”.

High-end operations

“Cyber would be among them as an area that we want to continue to refine in terms of working together as well as high-end operations together that we want to do, whether they be in the air, on the sea and under the sea.”

On Tuesday, Adm. Gilday met Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat and Minister of State for External Affairs. The discussions were primarily focused on the Indian Ocean, he said. He is also scheduled to embark on the US Navy Carrier Strike Group, participating in Exercise Malabar, off the East Coast of India along with an Indian delegation.

Admiral Gilday is on a five-day visit to India from October 11 to 15.

Admiral Gilday is on a five-day visit to India from October 11 to 15.   | Photo Credit: Twitter. @USNavyCNO


To a question from The Hindu on the operationalisation of the various foundational agreements, Adm. Gilday said they moved out “very aggressively” with respect to the implementation. Stating that the agreements are significant in making the two sides more inter-operable, he referred to the use of each other’s airfields, ports and refuelling capabilities as examples. “They are operational now... Our communications and logistics agreements are alive, well and blossoming.”

India has now signed all four foundational agreements with the U.S. — the logistics agreement in 2016, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) in 2018 and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA) in 2020. While the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago, an extension to it, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed in 2019.

Ex Malabar Phase-II

While Phase-I of Malabar was held in August and hosted by the U.S. Navy near Guam, Phase-II is being held from October 12-15 in the Bay of Bengal.

The Phase-2 would build upon the synergy, coordination and inter-operability developed during the first Phase of the exercise and would focus on advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings, the Navy said.

“The 25th edition of Malabar, being conducted in two phases, while observing all protocols during the pandemic, is reflective of the commitment of the participating countries to support a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific as well as a rules-based international order,” it said.

For the exercise, the Navy has deployed two frontline warships, a P8I long range maritime patrol aircraft and a Submarine while the U.S. Navy has fielded aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson along with two destroyers. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) is represented by JS Kaga and JS Murasame while the Royal Australian Navy has sent HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 6:22:18 PM |

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