World, Asia - Pacific

India takes part in naval drills amid China tensions

India, US, Japan and Australia to engage in high-intensity naval exercise over four days

Cheena Kapoor   | 18.11.2020
India takes part in naval drills amid China tensions


NEW DELHI, India

Amid high tensions with China, four nations including India began a joint naval exercise Tuesday in the Indian Ocean.

For the first time in 13 years, Australia has joined the US and Japan in the annual exercise, called Exercise Malabar 2020.

The decision to include Australia comes at a time when India and China are engaged in their worst border tensions in four decades.

With the coming together of the navies of four major nations, China has shown suspicion over the exercise in the Indo-Pacific region.

Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing in Beijing that “we hope that relevant countries’ military operations will be conducive to peace and stability in the region instead of working in the opposite way.”

The Malabar series of exercises began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992. Japan joined in 2015 and Australia had not participated since 2007.

The joint operations by the four countries, which also form the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the QUAD, will be centered around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.

The two carriers, along with other ships, submarines and aircraft of the participating navies, will be engaged in high-intensity naval operations that include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defense exercises by MIG-29K fighters of the Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeyes from the Nimitz.

“Advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings will also be undertaken to further enhance interoperability and synergy between the four friendly navies,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The first phase of the exercise concluded on Nov. 6.

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