Phase 1 of Malabar 2020 From 3-6 November, Phase 2 in Mid-November

The naval exercise involves the Indian Navy, US Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and Royal Australian Navy.

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India
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The first phase of the 24th Malabar Naval exercise scheduled in two phases will take place in the Bay of Bengal from 3 to 6 November, ANI reported on Friday, 30 October. Meanwhile, the second phase of the exercise will be conducted in Arabian Sea in mid-November.

The naval exercise will involve the Indian Navy, US Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force and Royal Australian Navy and commence from Visakhapatnam.

The Indian Navy will reportedly be led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsyayan who will participate with destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, Off-Shore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, Fleet Support Ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj. Meanwhile, ANI reported that Hawk, P-8I, Dornier aircraft and helicopters will also take part from Indian side.

Warship USS John S. McCain of the United States Navy and frigate HMAS Ballarat of the Royal Australian Navy will also be participating in the Malabar exercise alongside the Indian and Japanese navies.

Earlier this month, India’s Defence Ministry announced that Australia is all set to be part of the upcoming Malabar naval exercise.

Announcing Australia’s inclusion, India’s Defence Ministry said: “As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.”

Meanwhile, China said that it has “taken note” of India’s announcement that Australia will join the Malabar Exercise 2020,

“We always believe that military cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiane told the media in Beijing, adding that the country has “taken note of this development”, according to PTI.

What’s the Malabar Exercise?

The Malabar exercise had begun as a bilateral exercise between India and the US in 1992. While Japan was taken as a permanent member in the exercise in 2015, Australia had been conspicuous by its absence, except in 2007, when it participated along with Singapore.

Significantly, the four countries of US, Australia, Japan and India represent the Quad grouping, which has been viewed as a check against rising Chinese assertiveness.

This year, the Malabar exercise has been planned on a 'non-contact-at sea' format, the Defence Ministry said, adding that it will strengthen the coordination between the navies of the participating countries.

"The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain. They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules-based international order," the ministry pointed out.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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