The Quad countries — India, the US, Australia and Japan — will carry out the next edition of the high-voltage Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam amid mounting global concerns over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.
Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt arrived in Guam, an island territory of the US in the Western Pacific, on Saturday to take part in the exercise that will feature an array of complex drills, Indian Navy officials said on Sunday.
“The Malabar-21 would witness high-tempo exercises among destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the participating navies,” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
“Complex surface, sub-surface and air operations including live weapon firing drills, anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, and joint manoeuvres and tactical exercises will be conducted during the exercise,” he said.
The Malabar exercise is taking place in the midst of growing convergence of interests in the maritime domain as well as military cooperation among the four Quad countries in the face of China’s increasing assertiveness.
Though the exercise is not part of the framework of cooperation under Quad, it is increasingly seen as a reflection of increasing partnership among the four countries.
Later this year, US President Joe Biden is expected to hold an in-person summit of the leaders of the Quad countries in Washington to explore ways to further expand cooperation among its member countries.