Quadrilateral navy Exercise MALABAR 22 culminates in the Sea of Japan after 5 days of drills - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.
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Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Quadrilateral navy Exercise MALABAR 22 culminates in the Sea of Japan after 5 days of drills

MALABAR began in 1992 between maritime forces of the US and India. In 2014, the Japanese navy joined, and in 2020, the Australian Navy also joined. Beijing views Malabar as an anti-China grouping.


 

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 15th Nov 22

 

The 26th edition of the multinational maritime Exercise MALABAR -- 2022 culminated in the seas off Japan on 15 November 2022. This edition marked the 30th anniversary of the exercise and was hosted by the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

 

Exercise MALABAR began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise, featuring the maritime forces of the US and India. In 2014, the entry of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) made it a trilateral exercise. In 2020, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) also joined Malabar, making it a quadrilateral exercise. 

Beijing views Malabar as an anti-China grouping, formed by a “Concert of Democracies.” However, public statements from the participating countries express the intention to safeguard the global commons and implement freedom of navigation, rather than joining forces against a common enemy.

 

The five-day-long, high-tempo Exercise MALABAR saw the participation of an Australian submarine, and eleven surface ships, including a US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with its integral air elements, along with four long-range maritime patrol aircraft, integral helicopters and two submarines. The exercise also involved exchange of 'Sea Riders' between various participating ships.

 

The Indian Navy was represented by two warships from the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Fleet – Indian Naval Ships (INS) Shivalik and INS Kamorta led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet. Indian maritime commandoes (MARCOS) and a P-8I Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft also took part.

 

INS Shivalik is a multi-role frigate and is the lead vessel of Project 17, which involved building three frigates in Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai. INS Kamorta is a sophisticated anti-submarine corvette and was built as part of a four-vessel Project 28 in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.

 

The sea phase of MALABAR -- 2022 was conducted over five days near Yokosuka, Japan. A statement from the Hawaii-based United States-Indo-Pacific Command said: “This year’s at-sea exercise includes a variety of high-end tactical training events, submarine integration, anti-submarine warfare training, air defense exercises, multinational replenishment-at-sea operations, communications drills, joint warfighting planning scenarios, gunnery exercise, and maritime interdiction operations.”

“This exercise represents an outstanding opportunity for our like-minded maritime forces to work together, demonstrating our shared commitment to the region and collaborative approach toward security and stability,” said Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, Commander Task Force 70 (CTF-70)/Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5). “Now, it is more important than ever for the forward-deployed Carrier Strike Group to work closely with other maritime forces and deter all who challenge a free and open Indo-Pacific."

US Navy forces participating include Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 along with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville, and guided-missile destroyer USS Milius.

 

JMSDF units that participated included Japanese Ship (JS) Hyuga, JS Shiranui, JS Takanami, JS Oumi along with a P-1 aircraft.

 

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) participants include His Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Arunta and Stalwart and submarine HMAS Farncomb along with a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

 

In addition to operational drills and exercises, the bilateral logistics support agreements between the participating countries were validated during this edition of exercise Malabar. India and the US had signed a bilateral logistics support agreement – called Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, or LEMOA – which was an India-specific version of the LSA that the US signs with all its partner countries.

 

The four participating navies also had the opportunity to rehearse communication drills and interoperability. India’s signature of the “Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement” (COMCASA) agreement with the US in September 2018 has already opened the doors for the tactical communications needed for such operations.

 

Even outside the formal exercise structure, units of the four navies routinely operate together in the Indo-Pacific, fostering a cooperative approach toward regional security.

 

On September 15, 2000, the US further reinforced the military architecture for confronting China in the Indo-Pacific, joining hands with the UK and Australia to create an “enhanced trilateral security partnership” named AUKUS (Australia – UK – US).

 

Signalling that AUKUS meant business, its first announcement was that the UK and US would provide Australia with the classified technology and wherewithal needed to build and operate up to eight nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).

 

In a statement issued after the exercise terminated, the Indian Ministry of Defence stated: “The exercise helped enhance understanding of each others operational methodologies and ability to co-operate to tackle myriad maritime challenges.”

 

Exercise Malabar: Participation by countries


India

US

Japan

Australia

Singapore

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

3

5

2

-

-

10

2015

4

3

1

-

-

8

2016

4

5

1

-

-

10

2017

9

6

2

-

-

17

2018

3

6

4

-

-

13

2019

2

2

3

-

7

2020-01

5

1

1

1

-

8

2020-02

6

3

1

1

11

2021

2

3

4

1

10

2022

2

  3

        4

              3

                -

12

 


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