NEW DELHI: The 24th edition of the four-nation Malabar maritime exercise concluded on Friday amidst the Indian Navy assets deployed across the span of the Indian Ocean.
As per the Indian navy, the exercise reflected the commitment of the participating countries to support a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.
"The two aircraft carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies, engaged in high intensity naval operations including cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F/A-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz," a statement by the Indian Navy said.
The Malabar Exercise 2020 was hosted in two phases.
Phase I, involving participation by the Indian, US, Australian and Japanese navies, was conducted off Visakhapatnam coast in Bay of Bengal from November 3-6. The second phase was conducted in the Arabian Sea from November 17-20.
During Phase 2 of the exercise, the four navies participated in joint operations centered on the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.
The two aircraft carriers, along with other ships, submarines and aircraft of the participating navies, engaged in high intensity operations including cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F/A-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz.
The Nimitz was accompanied by cruiser Princeton and destroyer Sterett in addition to P8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
The Royal Australian Navy and JMSDF were represented by frigate Ballarat and destroyer Murasame respectively.
The Australian Navy deployed its HMAS Ballarat, an Anzac-class frigate while the Japanese Navy had sent its leading destroyer JS Murasame for the exercise.
The Malabar exercise, which began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992, has seen increasing scope and complexity over the years.
The mega exercise took place at a time when India and China are locked in an over six-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
This exercise involved coordinated operations of increasing complexity among the navies of the four countries which are part of the Quad or Quadrilateral Coalition.
Leading the Indian side
The Indian Navy’s participation was led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.
(With PTI Inputs)