The second phase of the Malabar exercise began on Tuesday in the Northern Arabian Sea with the participation of Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz along with other Indian, US, Australian and Japanese warships carrying out 'Malabar-2020' wargames. The Australian Navy is taking part with its warship HMAS Ballarat and Japan with destroyer JS Murasame. The second phase of the Malabar exercise will be conducted in the Northern Arabian Sea till November 20.
The exercise plan
Phase 2 of Exercise Malabar 2020 will witness joint operations, centred around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy. The two carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies, would be engaged in high-intensity naval operations over four days
These exercises include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz.
Synergy between friendly navies
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.
US strike group
The participation of the US strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the exercise will significantly enhance its overall impact. The USS Nimitz is the world's largest warship. A carrier battle group or carrier strike group is a mega naval fleet comprising an aircraft carrier, accompanied by a large number of destroyers, frigates and other ships. In the exercise, the Nimitz will be accompanied by cruiser Princeton and destroyer Sterett in addition to P8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Royal Australian Navy will be represented by frigate Ballarat along with its integral helicopter.
The mega exercise is taking place at a time India and China are locked in an over six-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh that has majorly strained the ties between the two 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.
The first phase of the Malabar exercise took place in the Bay of Bengal from November 3 to 6 and featured a number of complex drills including anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations.