By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: India, the US, Australia and Japan will carry out the next edition of the high-voltage Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam amid mounting global concerns over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.
Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt reached Guam on Saturday to take part in the exercise that will feature an array of complex drills. “The Malabar-21 would witness high-tempo exercises among destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the participating navies,” Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said. “Complex surface, sub-surface and air operations including live weapon firing drills, anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, and joint manoeuvres and tactical exercises will be conducted during the exercise.”
The Malabar exercise is taking place in the midst of growing convergence of interests among the Quad countries in the face of China’s increasing assertiveness. Though it is not part of the framework of cooperation under Quad, the exercise is seen as a reflection of increasing partnership among the four countries.
China has been suspicious about the purpose of the Malabar exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. India, the US, Australia, Japan and many other like-minded countries are working towards ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.