In a statement released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD-India), the US Navy, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force, and the Royal Australian Navy, along with the Indian Navy, are participating in the MALABAR Exercise of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) maritime alliance.
The INS Kolkata (Destroyer) and the INS Sahyadri (Frigate) of the Indian Navy will be actively contributing to the naval military exercise. It is pertinent to note that the Royal Australian Navy is hosting the exercise for the first time.
The exercise will take place in a large designated area, the East Australian exercise area, spread over a couple of hundred miles off Sydney.
The Australian Navy is deploying two ships, the destroyer HMAS Brisbane and the landing ship HMAS Choules. The Indian Navy will be represented by INS Kolkata and INS Sahyadri. The US will be represented by a large destroyer, and Japan will be represented by a surface vessel. In addition, the P-8 Maritime Surveillance and Patrol aircraft of Australia, India and the US will take part in the exercise with a focus on anti-submarine warfare.
INS Kolkata of the Indian Navy is the first ship of the indigenously designed and built Project-15A class destroyers and will be commanded by Captain Sharad Sinsunwal. The other ship INS Sahyadri, the third ship of the indigenously designed and built Project-17 stealth frigate, will be under the command of Captain Rajan Kapoor.
Phases of the Exercise
The MALABAR 2023 is scheduled to be conducted in two phases, namely Harbour Phase and the other is the Sea Phase. In the Harbour Phase, various activities such as cross-deck visits, professional exchanges, sports fixtures, and several interactions for planning and conduct of the Sea Phase.
The Sea Phase involves various complex and high-intensity exercises in all three domains of warfare, encompassing anti-surface, anti-air, and anti-submarine exercises, including weapon fire drills.
The exercise will provide an opportunity for the Indian Navy to enhance and demonstrate interoperability and also gain from the best practices in maritime security operations from its partner nations. After the MALABAR exercise is finished, India And Australia will take part in AUSINDEX. The India-Australia bilateral exercise.
Remarks by Australian PM
The Prime Minister of Australia, Antony Albanese, had announced that they would be hosting the multilateral exercise for the first time this year when he took a tour of India’s indigenous aircraft INS Vikrant in Mumbai. He also said that for Australia, India is a top-tier security partner.
About MALABAR Exercise
The MALABAR series of maritime exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the US Navy and has grown in stature over the years to include four powerful and prominent navies in the Indo-Pacific Region. In the past, the officials have termed the MALABAR Exercise as the most complicated exercise that India does and participates.
Australia was included as a permanent member of Exercise MALABAR amid the standoff with China in Eastern Ladakh. Japan hosted the last edition of the exercise, which was held in November 2022. It has also marked thirty years of the exercise that began as a bilateral exercise between India and the US Navy in 1992.
MALABAR has grown in size, scope, and complexity with ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) training as a major focus area in the last few years, especially in the backdrop of rapid expansion of the PLAN (Chinese Navy) and its increased forays in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region)
The 2020 edition of this exercise witnessed the maiden participation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). This year marks the 27th edition of the MALABAR, which is being hosted by the Royal Australian Navy, the statement read.