The US Seventh Fleet, in a statement, said the exercise demonstrated the commitment among the like-minded nations to uphold a rules-based maritime order in the Indo-Pacific. (HT_PRINT)

NEW DELHI : The high-profile Malabar naval exercises by the US, Indian, Australian and Japanese navies began Thursday off the coast of Guam in the western Pacific, in line with the four countries’ determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face of an aggressively rising China.

According to the Indian Navy, a series of complex exercises involving warships, aircraft and helicopters will be conducted during the four-day exercise, which is being hosted by the U.S. Navy this year.

The U.S. Seventh Fleet said in a statement the exercise demonstrates the commitment of like-minded nations to maintain a rules-based maritime order in the Indo-Pacific.

The Indian Navy has partnered its stealth frigate INS Shivalik, the submarine corvette INS Kadmatt, and a fleet of P8I maritime patrol aircraft in 2015 with India and the US, while Australia invited India to participate in the exercises last year became. The exercises, organized by India, took place in two phases in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea.

The four countries form the quad – a loose grouping of countries that have come together to ensure, among other things, open maritime communication channels. China views the quad bike and the exercises with suspicion and views the exercises as an attempt to curb its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Barry, Navy special forces, Task Force 72 sea patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and the Henry J Kaiser-class of the Military Sealift Command underway, USNS Rappahannock replenishment oiler are among the assets used by the US Navy in the exercise.

“Malabar-21 would experience complex exercises, including anti-surface, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare exercises, as well as other maneuvers and tactical exercises. The exercise will allow participating Marines to benefit from each other’s expertise and experience. ” That said the spokesman for the Indian Navy, Vivek Madhwal.

The US 7th Fleet said the first phase of the exercise would be an opportunity for the four Indo-Pacific Marines to operate together to enhance their capabilities in “combined sea operations, anti-submarine operations, air war operations, live-fire gun events, resupply. at sea and cross-deck flight operations. “

“Malabar 21 is an excellent opportunity to conduct multinational training to enhance warfare and maritime security skills,” said Captain Chase Sargeant, commander of Task Force (CTF) 71, US 7th Fleet.

“US destroyers, closely allied with our partners and allies, lay the foundation for regional security and stability that benefits all Indo-Pacific nations,” he said.

At an event organized on Wednesday by the New Delhi-based think tank of the Observer Research Foundation, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander Admiral John Aquilino said the main goal of exercises like the Malabar series is to improve interoperability capabilities of the participating navies in the event of threats.

The US Navy commander also pointed out the possibility that more like-minded countries could join the Malabar naval exercise if India, the US, Japan and Australia agree. The comment came against the background that countries like Great Britain and Germany sent a carrier attack group and a frigate separately to the Indo-Pacific region. The two countries are among a growing handful of nations outlining an Indo-Pacific vision or strategy that focuses, among other things, on freedom of navigation as the economic focus shifts to Asia.

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