Malabar Exercise -2021

The high-voltage Malabar exercise featuring the navies of all four Quad countries — India, the United States, Australia and Japan —-was conducted off the coast of Guam in the backdrop of the resolve by the four nations to work towards a free and open Indo-Pacific in view of China’s expansionist behaviour in the region.

  • The aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability amongst the participating navies, develop a common understanding and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for maritime security operations and for the navies to operate as a team to meet the challenges in the maritime domain.
  • The 25th edition of the Malabar exercise was conducted in the midst of growing convergence of interests in the maritime domain among the four Quad countries.
  • The Indian Navy mentioned that the INS Shivalik multirole frigate, the INS Kadmatt anti-submarine warfare corvette, and P8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft will be part of the exercise.
  • The US Navy will be represented by the USS Barry, USNS Rappahannock, the USNS Big Horn, and P8A patrol aircraft.
  • The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force will be represented by the JS Kaga, JS Murasame, and JS Shiranui destroyers, in addition to a submarine and P1 patrol aircraft. The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by the HMAS Warramunga. 

What is the Malabar Exercise?

  • Malabar is a multilateral war-gaming naval exercise that was started in 1992. It began as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and the United States. Two more editions of the exercise were carried out in 1995 and 1996, after which there was a break until 2002 in the aftermath of India’s nuclear tests.
  • From 2002 onward, the exercise has been conducted every year. Japan and Australia first participated in 2007, and since 2014, India, the US and Japan have participated in the exercise every year. Following India’s invitation, Australia participated in the Malabar exercise last year that effectively made it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad.
  • Last year, the exercise was conducted in two phases — the first off the coast of Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal, and then in the Arabian Sea in November. In 2019, the exercise had been conducted off the coast of Japan, and in 2018, in the Philippine Sea.