India-US Naval Exercise Malabar Start From Saturday

Indian Navy’s three destroyers and the support vessels are positioned in the western Pacific where they will practice maneuvers on interdiction at sea and anti-piracy patrol with the US warships in the annual Malabar series of exercise, from Saturday. Although Malabar is essentially an Indo-US exercise, Japan, an important ally of the US and India’s strategic partner, was also invited.

But it pulled out at the last moment as its armed forces were dealing with the nuclear crisis.

Japan had earlier agreed to play host to Indian and the US naval warships by holding the exercise near the port city of Okinawa. After it’s withdrawal, the venue was shifted to somewhere in the western Pacific. Its’s withdrawal means that exercise has been scaled down there will be no submarine component and missing in action would also be the aircraft carriers.

The US in the past has fielded its Carrier Strike Group 7 with the USS Ronald Reagon at the helm, but in this edition the US Pacific fleet destroyers and corvettes would match the Indian participation. Indian fleet, comprising destroyers INS Delhi and INS Ranvijay, along with fleet tanker INS Jyothi, starting from eastern fleet headquarter at Vishakhapatnam has reached the area marked for exercise.

The Naval sources said there would be live firing during the practice drills, but the two sides will not use missiles. Anti-piracy patrol is one of the special areas of interest to the Indian Navy. Although it is not part of the US-led Combined Task Force 150 operating in the Gulf of Aden, it would understand the mechanism adopted by the foreign forces in such operations.
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