The 24th edition of Exercise Malabar, which concluded on Friday, Nov 20, was
reflective of the “commitment of the participating countries to support a free,
open, inclusive Indo-Pacific as well as a rules-based international order,” the
Indian Navy said in a statement.
The naval exercise
held in two phases in Bay of Bengal
The naval exercise, consisting of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., was
held in two phases this time both in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea. Australia
joined the war games for the first time since 2007. In the backdrop of
COVID-19, it was conducted in a ‘non-contact at sea only’ format.
“Advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship
evolutions and weapon firings in addition to Dual carrier operations were also
undertaken during both phases of Malabar 2020, demonstrating the synergy,
coordination and inter-operability between the four
For Phase-II, Indian and the U.S. deployed aircraft carrier groups INS
Vikramaditya and USS Nimitz respectively and P-8 long-range maritime
reconnaissance aircraft for Anti-Submarine Warfare drills. The two aircraft
carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating
navies, engaged in high intensity naval operations, including cross-deck flying
operations and advanced air defence exercises by MiG-29K fighters of INS
Vikramaditya andF/A-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye aircraft from USS Nimitz, the
Phase-I of the 24th edition of Malabar was held from November 3 to 6 off
the Visakhapatnam coast in the Bay of Bengal and Phase-II was held from
November 17 to 20 in the northern Arabian Sea. The Navy’s participation in
Phase-I was led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan, Eastern Fleet Commander, while
Phase 2 was led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Western Fleet Commander.
Malabar, which began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India
and the U.S. in 1992, has seen increasing scope and complexity over the years.
It became trilateral with Japan in 2015.