The naval forces from Indian, Japan, the US and Australia have started the first phase of the annual maritime exercise Malabar 2021.

Hosted by the US Navy, the Malabar 2021 exercise will take part in two phases between the four Indo-Pacific navies.

The exercise is designed to improve planning, training, and employment of advanced warfare (AW) tactics between the participating nations.

Under the first phase, the four navies will operate in the Philippines Sea to hone their skills in joint maritime operations, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, air warfare operations as well as live-fire gunnery events.

First phase also includes replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime interdiction operations.

CTF 71 commander captain Chase Sargeant said: “MALABAR 21 is an excellent opportunity to conduct multi-national training to hone warfighting and maritime security skillsets.

“US destroyers closely integrating with our partners and allies builds the foundation for regional security and stability that benefits all Indo-Pacific nations.”

Pacific Fleet’s top sub hunter, Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from Task Force 72, and Military Sealift Command’s Henry J Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) will participate on behalf of the US in the first phase.

The Indian Navy’s Shivalik-class multi-role stealth frigate INS Shivalik (F 47), and Kamorta-class anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt (P 29) will represent the country in the exercise.

Multi-purpose operation destroyer JS Kaga (DDH 184), Murasame-class destroyers JS Murasame (DD 101) and JS Shiranui (DD 120) will represent Japan.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramonga (FFH 152) will take part in the drills.

US Navy USS Barry commanding officer commander Chris Gahl said: “MALABAR 21 provides a wonderful opportunity to bolster our international partnerships.

“Our team is excited to demonstrate [anti-submarine warfare] capabilities and to collaborate alongside our Indo-Pacific partners and allies. The lessons and tactics we share will enhance our strength and capabilities in supporting the common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The exercise will witness anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) drill, as well as other manoeuvres and tactical exercises.