Indian, U.S. aircraft carriers to take part in Phase-II of Exercise Malabar

They would be engaged in high intensity naval operations over four days.

Aircraft carriers of India and the U.S. will take part in Phase-II of Exercise Malabar 2020, also consisting of Australia and Japan, scheduled to take place from November 17 to 20 in the Northern Arabian Sea, the Navy said on Monday.

The Phase will witness joint operations, centred on the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Navy and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy, the Navy said. “The two carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies, would be engaged in high intensity naval operations for 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,” it said.

Advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings will also be undertaken to further enhance “interoperability and synergy” among the four navies. The Phase-I was held in the Bay of Bengal in the first week of November.

Stating that the 24th edition of Malabar highlights “enhanced convergence of views” amongst the four vibrant democracies on maritime issues, the Navy said it showcases “their commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order”.

The Navy is also deploying INS Kolkata and INS Chennai, stealth frigate INS Talwar, fleet support ship INS Deepak and their integral helicopters. Scorpene class submarine INS Khanderi and P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft will also take part.

The Nimitz carrier group will be accompanied by cruiser Princeton, destroyer Sterett and P8A patrol aircraft. “The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by frigate Ballarat with its integral helicopter. The JMSDF will also participate in the exercise,” the statement said.

Australia joined the exercise this year for the first time since 2007 bringing together all four countries of the Quadrilateral grouping for the military games. Malabar began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992 and has over the years significantly grown in scope and complexity. It formally became a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.

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