The second phase of the Malabar military exercise that involves the navies of all four Quad alliance members – India, Australia, US and Japan – began today in the northern Arabian Sea. The four-day exercise will involve coordinated operations of increasing complexity, building on the synergies achieved in phase one, a government statement said on Monday.
The Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy are leading the second phase of the exercise, which, experts say, has been organised to challenge China’s growing influence in the region.
This is for the first time in years that all four members of the alliance are taking part in the annual event.
Visuals released on Tuesday show India and US ships surging ahead in formation.
The Ministry of Defence on Monday said that the two aircraft carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies, would be engaged in high intensity naval operations over four days.
“These exercises include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz. In addition, advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings will also be undertaken to further enhance inter-operability and synergy between the four friendly navies,” it had said in a statement.
“In addition to Vikramaditya and its fighter and helicopter air-wings, indigenous destroyers Kolkata and Chennai, stealth frigate Talwar, Fleet Support Ship Deepak and integral helicopters will also participate in the exercise, led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet,” it added.
The first phase, held in the Bay of Bengal on November 3-6, focused on complex and advanced naval exercises, including surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare operations, besides seamanship evolutions and weapon-firing exercises.