Malabar Exercise Current Affairs - 2019

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Malabar Exercise 2019: India, Japan, US Naval Exercise begins

The Malabar Exercise 2019, the trilateral maritime exercise between navies of India, Japan and the US began off the coast of Japan. The year 2019 is the 23rd edition of Malabar Exercise.

Key Highlights

Indian Navy: Two frontline indigenously designed and built Indian naval ships participating in exercise are- INS Sahyadri, a multi-purpose guided-missile frigate and INS Kiltan, a ASW (anti-submarine warfare) Corvette. In addition to ships, a P8I (Poseidon Eight India) Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft has also reached Japan for the exercise.

The US Navy: It is being represented by USS McCampbell (DDG-85), a Los Angeles-Class Attack Submarine, and a ‘P8A‘ Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Japan Navy: known as The Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). It is participating with its JS Kaga, a Izumo class helicopter destroyer, JS Samidare and Choukai, a guided-missile destroyers and a ‘P1’ Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

During the harbour phase, the three partner navies would conduct sports fixtures, official protocol visits, reciprocal ship visits, professional interactions in subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and social events.

Significance

Malabar 2019 exercise seeks to further strengthen India-Japan-US naval cooperation and enhance interoperability, based on shared values and principles. The exercise involves complex maritime operations in surface, sub-surface and air domains. It also focuses on maritime interdiction operations (MIO), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-air and anti-surface firings. Apart from these it also includes visit board search and seizure (VBSS) and tactical scenario-based exercise at sea.

Thus the participation of Indian naval ships and aircraft in the trilateral exercise would significantly bolster strong maritime bonds of friendship between three participant countries and at the same time it would contribute towards security and stability in region.

US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations visits India

Chief of Naval Operations of US Navy, Admiral John Michael Richardson is on a three day official tour to India. The tour is scheduled from 12 to 14 May 2019 and during his visit he will meet Indian Navy’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba in New Delhi.

Key Highlights

  • Purpose: Admiral John Richardson visit to India is amid rising Chinese influence in Indo-Pacific region. This is part of US strategy of grouping together with like-minded countries like India, South Korea, Australia and Japan to make sure that each Indo-Pacific nation can protect its sovereignty from coercion. It refers to coercive activities undertaken by China in South China Sea (SCS) which have become a flashpoint for US-China relations in Asia.
  • Aim: The visit by US Navy Chief is intended to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and USA and as well as explore new avenues for naval cooperation between two nations.
  • Discussions: Major issues to be discussed during visit include information exchange, capacity building, operations and exercises, capability enhancement and training interactions.
  • Significance: The visit emphasizes the importance of information sharing and exchange between two defence partners. This will further strengthen strategic partnership between the Indian Navy and US Navy.

India-US Defence Relation

  • India-US ties has seen a significant growth in recent years.
  • In 2016, USA accorded India a Major Defence Partner status.
  • In September 2018 the inaugural Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue conducted between two nations (India and US), facilitated new avenues for defence cooperation among them.
  • Indian Navy and US Navy interact regularly at various bilateral and multilateral forums. They also participate in several maritime exercises like MALABAR and RIMPAC.
  • Other than Defence Exercise many Regular Subject Matter Expert exchange also takes place between both navies to establish interoperability in various fields.