The second phase of the high-voltage Malabar exercise featuring the navies of all four Quad countries -- India, the US, Australia and Japan -- is scheduled to take place in the Bay of Bengal from October 11 to 14, diplomatic sources said on Thursday.
The first phase of the mega wargame took place off the coast of Guam in the Western Pacific from August 26-29 that featured a number of complex drills involving many frontline warships and other assets of the four navies.
The sources said the navies of India, Australia and the UK are expected to participate in another exercise after the culmination of the second phase of the Malabar exercise.
There is no immediate comment from the Indian Navy on the second phase of the Malabar exercise.
Following India's invitation, Australia participated in the Malabar exercise last year that effectively made it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.
The Indian Navy deployed its stealth frigate INS Shivalik, anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt and a fleet of P8I maritime surveillance aircraft in the first phase of the exercise.
The exercise witnessed renewed momentum in the backdrop of the growing convergence of interests in the maritime domain among the four Quad 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 Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian Navy and the US Navy in the Indian Ocean. Japan became a permanent member of the exercise in 2015.
This annual exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.
Last year, the exercise was hosted in two phases in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.
There have been mounting global concerns over China's growing military assertiveness 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.
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