Ex-Malabar 2021: Interoperability of naval powers of the Quad will be on display in Indo-Pacific

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Updated: August 10, 2021 2:43 PM

The Quad navies (India, the US, Japan and Australia) will be conducting amphibious operations which will be involving Special Forces, live firing and anti-submarine warfare operations off the coast of Guam as part of Malabar 2021 exercises.

Eastern Fleet Ships on Overseas Deployment to SouthEast Asia. (Photos credit: Indian Navy)

Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet is gradually sailing towards Guam in the Indo-Pacific for Ex-Malabar later this month.

The Quad navies (India, the US, Japan and Australia) will be conducting amphibious operations which will be involving Special Forces, live firing and anti-submarine warfare operations off the coast of Guam as part of Malabar 2021 exercises.

“The Quad navies will be interacting with each other during the Malabar exercises with notes being exchanged on how to enforce the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific in the wake of an aggressive Chinese Navy. The exercises will involve freedom of navigation operations with the Indian Navy conducting bilateral exercises with Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Australian Navy both in South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific,” explained a senior official who wished to remain anonymous.

Ex Malabar 2021

“The harbour phase of the Malabar naval exercises is scheduled from August 21 to 24, 2021, while the sea phase of the annual exercise will be held on August 25 to 29, 2021,” a senior officer confirmed to Financial Express Online.

More about the participating navies

The US Navy is bringing three warships including destroyers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I, anti-submarine warfare helicopters and Special Forces.

Indian Navy will be represented by two surface combatants led by Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvijay and Frigate INS Shivalik along with maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I, ASW helicopters and Special Forces (Marine Commandos-MARCOS).

The Japanese Navy is bringing in three surface combatants, a submarine mine-layer, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, ASW helicopters and Special Forces.

The Australian Navy will participate in Malabar with one ship, ASW helicopter and Special Forces.

The last Malabar exercise off the coast of Guam was held in 2018 with Japanese, Indian and US Navy participating in the advanced naval war games. In 2020, the Australian Navy joined the Malabar exercises as part of Quad.

China’s Reaction

While the Quad exercises are expected to rankle the PLA Navy and Beijing, the Chinese propaganda machine will also be hyperactive by show-casing the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile also called the Guam killer in reference to the US Naval base in the far Pacific territory.

Aim of Malabar Exercise

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, Malabar series of Exercises are aimed at increasing the interoperability of naval powers of the four countries of the Quad.

The ultimate goal of joint naval manoeuvres in these exercises is the demonstration of the capability of Quad Nations in maritime domain.

Most importantly, through these exercises, efforts are being made to give ‘Strategic Signaling’ of collectivism to a country like China that India is not alone and the exercise can act as a counterweight to Chinese military and political influence in the region.

The deployment of Indian warships in the South China Sea will also challenge Chinese dominance in the South China Sea.

What is QUAD?

The origins of Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) can be traced to the devastating Tsunami in Indian Ocean in 2004. The Quad emerged as Tsunami response Core Group, which executed a credible HADR response. It has remained a strategic dialogue between the US, Japan, Australia and India commencing in 2007.

The Malabar series of exercises gave it a sense of interoperability for anti-piracy, HADR and other maritime missions. The members of Quad project themselves to be committed to an open and transparent network which allows people, goods, capital and knowledge to flow freely. “Quad has therefore yet to acknowledge that it has a role in checking the adventurism of China in Indo-Pacific region and to operate jointly as a military force for countering the same,” explained officials quoted above.

In fact, over the years, Quad has chosen to be diplomatically correct to say that it is not directed towards any particular country. In March this year, Quad finally reached a level of Summit meeting.

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