Indian, Japanese and US maritime forces have concluded the 21st annual edition of Exercise Malabar 2017 in the Bay of Bengal.
This year’s exercise was designed to boost military-to-military coordination and capacity to facilitate the planning and performance of tactical operations in a multinational environment.
Indian Navy Eastern Fleet flag officer rear admiral Biswajit Dasgupta said: “Exercise Malabar is a great symbol of friendship between India, the US and Japan.
“Malabar is one of the main elements in our defence partnership, and it conveys a message that the three countries are willing to work together closely in the maritime arena.”
The major objectives of Exercise Malabar 2017 were to enhance interoperability among the three nations' maritime forces, offer an opportunity to conduct engagements with India and Japan, and demonstrate a US naval presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
US Navy Carrier Air Wing 11 commander captain Robert Westendorff said: “What it says to the world is that we operate as a coalition with friendly nations across the world in a partnership-building relationship, so that if any contingency operation should arise in this region, the US Navy can operate freely with our partners, working as one unit and one team.”
The Malabar exercise involved professional exchanges and embarkations, a photo exercise, submarine familiarisation, defence exercises, medical evacuation drills and surface warfare exercises.
Communications exercises, search and rescue exercises, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, underway replenishments, gunnery exercises, and anti-submarine warfare activities were also conducted during the event.
The US Navy assets that participated in the exercise included the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, which comprises USS Nimitz (CVN 68), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, CSG 11 staff and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9.
The DESRON 9 units deployed during the activity included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).
Image: Ships from the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy sail in the Bay of Bengal as part of Exercise Malabar 2017. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy by mass communication specialist 3rd Class Leon Wong.