First phase of the Malabar naval exercise 2020 to start today: Here's all you need to know
Photo Credit: ANI

The first phase of the Malabar exercise among the navies of India, the US, Japan and Australia will kick start off Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal from today.

The exercise is taking place at a time India and China are locked in a nearly six-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh that has significantly strained their ties. Japan, Australia and the US are also having friction with China in the last few months over a variety of issues.

Last month, India announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar exercise which effectively made it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition which is primarily focusing on containing China's military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region. The first segment of the exercise will be from Nov 3 to 6 while the second phase of the drill is scheduled to be held from November 17 to 20 in the Arabian sea.

Here's all you need to know about Malabar Exercise 2020:

  • The Phase 1 of the exercise involving participation by the Indian Navy, United States Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, and Royal Australian Navy is set to be held off Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal from November 3 to November 6.

  • Phase one would witness complex and advanced naval exercises including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon firing exercises.

  • 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 Indian Navy said in a statement on Monday.

  • Phase one will witness the participation of Indian Navy units with USS John S McCain (Guided-missile destroyer), Australian Ship Ballarat (long range frigate) with a MH-60 helicopter, and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship Onami (Destroyer) with a SH-60 helicopter. The Indian Navy participation in phase one will be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Fleet.

  • Indian Navy units participating in the exercise include destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off Shore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, Fleet Support Ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj. 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.

  • Also, advanced jet trainer Hawk, long-range maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, and several helicopters will be participating in the exercise, officials said.

  • Phase two of the drill is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea in mid-November 2020.

  • The Malabar series of maritime exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral between the Indian and US navies. Japan joined in 2015. The 2020 edition will now witness the participation of Australia in this joint maritime exercise.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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