Australia hosts Exercise Malabar for the first time
The 27th edition of Exercise Malabar concluded on the East Coast of Australia off Sydney on Monday (August 21, 2023), marking yet a other successul chapter when it comes to multilateral maritime cooperation between India, the US, Japan, and Australia.

This was the first time that the exercise was hosted by Australia, which joined Exercise Malabar in 2020. The previous edition of the exercise was hosted by Japan in November 2022.

Exercise Malabar 2023 saw the participation of ships, submarines and aircraft from the Indian Navy (IN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy (USN). It was conducted in two phases, which included a harbour phase from August 11-15, 2023 and a sea phase from August 16-21, 2023.

Here are some highlights from Exercise Malabar:

1. The Indian Navy was represented by indigenously-built Destroyer INS Kolkata, Frigate INS Sahyadri and P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

2. Other participating units included RAN ships HMAS Choules and HMAS Brisbane, USS Raphael Peralta, JS Shiranui, along with submarines, fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft and shipborne helicopters, India's Ministry of Defence said.

3. While the ships sailed out for the sea phase from Sydney harbour, the air assets operated from RAAF Amberley Brisbane, where the P-8I Dets involving IN, RAAF and US P-8 crew were stationed.

4. The sea phase of Exercise Malabar witnessed complex and high intensity exercises in air, surface and undersea domains, weapon firings and cross deck helicopter operations.

5. The joint exercises at sea honed the war-fighting skills and enhanced interoperability between the four navies to undertake advanced maritime operations. The seamless integration of air assets also showcased the exceptional coordination and interoperability between the Indian, Australian and US maritime patrol aircraft units.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the exercise not only reaffirmed the ability of the four navies to operate together as an integrated force but also highlighted their shared commitment to maritime security and regional stability through collaborative training and mutual understanding.

At the culmination of five days of multifarious exercises, Exercise Malabar vividly showcased the strong cooperation, shared values and the collective ability of the four participating nations to ensure a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific promoting peace and security for all, the Ministry of Defence added.

The Malabar series of maritime exercises commenced in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between Indian Navy and US Navy and has grown in stature over the years to include four prominent navies in the Indo-Pacific Region. The 2020 edition witnessed the maiden participation of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).