Malabar Naval Exercise- 2020

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Special Correspondent

Malabar is an annual naval exercise involving India, USA, Japan and Australia as permanent partners. This exercise originally began as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States in 1992. Then it was held thrice till 1997. In 1998, it was discontinued due to India’s Nuclear tests. However, the exercise resumed again in 2002. In 2007, Japan, Australia and Singapore also. In 2015 Japan became a permanent partner and in 2020, Australia will be a part again.

This exercise was also conducted in the ‘off the coast’ of Japan in 2007. In 2018, this exercise was conducted in the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea. However, in 2019 it was conducted in the off the coast of Japan.

The last and the only time the Australian Navy had participated in this exercise was in 2007. At that time, Malabar 2007 had provoked issuing of demarche to India by China due to participation of Australia. Indian MoD has stated that Australia will be part of Malabar 2020 but has not commented on the future.

Malabar 2020

This year the Malabar exercise will be held in November in two phases. In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise.

  • Phase-1 – Will commence off the coast of Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal from 3 to 6 November.
  • Phase 2 – Scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea on 17-20 November.

The first phase of Malabar 2020 will witness complex and advanced naval exercises, including surface, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations, cross-deck flying, seamanship evolutions and weapon-firing drills.

Indian Navy vessels that will be part of this joint maritime exercise are as follows :

INS Sindhuraj (submarine)
INS Shakti (fleet support ship)
INS Sukanya (off-shore patrol vessel)
INS Shivalik (frigate)
INS Ranvijay (Destroyer)



The Indian Air Force’s aircraft and choppers will also be a part of the first phase of Malabar 2020

  • Hawk (Advanced Jet Trainer)
  • P-8I (long-range maritime patrol aircraft)
  • Dornier maritime patrol
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