US aircraft carrier welcomes 12 senior Indian officers to Malabar exercise “Quad”

TOKYO / NEW YORK – Members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – the United States, Japan, Australia and India – concluded joint defense exercises in the Indian Ocean on Thursday, strengthening their security partnership in the context of China’s growing military weight in the region.

The second phase of the annual Malabar exercise, which included the four Quad members for the second year in a row, began on Monday, according to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

On the final day, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday, the highest ranking commander of the US Navy, welcomed 12 senior Indian Navy officers aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Among the visitors were the Indian Chief of Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, and Vice Admiral AB Singh, Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

“This visit to Carl Vinson during Malabar was an important opportunity to see first-hand the integration between our two navies at sea,” Gilday said in a US Navy press release.

“As we continue to exercise our navies together, as we currently do alongside the Japanese and Australian navies, there is no doubt that our partnership will only grow. Cooperation, when applied with naval power, promotes freedom and peace and prevents coercion, intimidation and aggression, ”he said.

Senior Indian Navy officers aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson on October 14 during Exercise Malabar off the coast of India. (Photo courtesy of the US Navy)

U.S. Navy participants included the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale, and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

Japan sent its JS Kaga helicopter carrier and JS Murasame destroyer.

The Indian Navy was represented by the guided-missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, the multirole stealth frigate INS Satpura and a P-8I maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

Participants from the Royal Australian Navy included the frigate HMAS Ballarat and the fleet supply ship HMAS Sirius.

The presence of several maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft signaled that the participants engaged in anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Bay of Bengal.

During the first phase of Exercise Malabar, which began in August, countries practiced maritime operations near Guam and in the Philippine Sea. This year’s exercises were spread over three months, unlike the approximately eight-day exercise held in November 2020.

Exercise Malabar originally began as bilateral exercises between the United States and India. Japan officially joined the framework in 2015, and Australia joined last year.

Quad leaders held their first in-person summit at the end of September, promising in a joint statement “to meet the challenges of the rules-based maritime order, including in the East and South China Seas.” . But the statement does not mention China itself or its defense cooperation, possibly out of consideration for India’s position that the Quad is not a military alliance.

The bloc wants to avoid pushing China too far on the diplomatic scene. Instead, they will regularly hold large-scale joint exercises to demonstrate their cooperation and deter Beijing’s overly provocative measures.

The latest exercise comes as multilateral exercises, including those involving European actors, are becoming increasingly common in the Indo-Pacific.

Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand have engaged in a two-day exercise from October 2 off the Nansei Islands of Japan, not far from Taiwan. Participants included USS Ronald Reagan and Carl Vinson from the United States, as well as HMS Queen Elizabeth from the United Kingdom

The Queen Elizabeth also practiced maritime operations with the Maritime SDF in late August in the East China Sea as the UK takes advantage of the carrier’s deployment in Asia to deepen security cooperation with Japan. Japan’s land SDF also conducted a joint exercise simulating remote island defenses with the French military and the United States Marine Corps in Japan in May.

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