Is the Malabar Naval Exercise only for mutual learning?


The standoff between China and India hit the headlines a few days before and it seems a naval exercise with the US and Japan has started on July 10th to counter it. Nothing can be further than the truth. It is true that there is a standoff but the Malabar Exercise, as it is called, is an exercise which began in 1992 with the US. From 2002 it has been conducted every year. In 2015 Japan joined and today Malabar Exercise is a trilateral exercise. Australia and Singapore have also participated in the past but they were non-permanent partners. Japan is a permanent partner now. The 21st edition will be conducted at sea and ashore exercises. The exercises include maritime patrol, surface and anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance operations and carrier strike group operations. Damage control, helicopter operations, medical operations and explosive ordinance disposal will also take place. The events that will be held are medical evacuation drills, submarine familiarisation, surface warfare exercises, search and rescue operations, communication exercise and air defence exercises. This exercise will last for 8 days.

Flag Officer Bisht said that “mutual learning,” “sharing of best practices” and enhancing the “inter-operability” among the three countries would be the focus of this exercise. 95 aircrafts, 16 ships and two submarines are taking part in this Malabar Exercise. All the three countries are aware of the maritime threat from other countries especially China. China has built a port in Srilanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Commander of the US Navy Rear Admiral William D Byrne Jr told the press on-board the INS Jalashwa, “I would like to say this is a strategic message to China. It (the message) would also be the same to Canada or to Republic of Korea or to Australia or to any other maritime force.” India has the latest technology in Naval maritime but an exercise like this will boost the confidence of the cadets and officers. Such exercises are grounds for mutual learning. India has a large coast that has to be protected and Navy has to be on the top all the time and Malabar Exercise will help in that.