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Malabar war games: India, US, Japan to deploy their largest warships, focus on anti-submarine warfare

July 6, 2017

malabar-exercise_647_070617083009US super carrier USS Nimitz, India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramditya and Japanese helicopter carrier JS Izumo will come together in the Indian Ocean Region to hunt down hostile submarines and practice how to launch expeditionary forces.

US super carrier USS Nimitz, India’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and Japanese helicopter carrier JS Izumo will be coming together in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) from July 10 to hunt down hostile submarines and even practice how to launch and sustain expeditionary forces across long distances.

The eight-day-long joint military exercise involving India, Japan and the United States – known as the Malabar Exercise – will go on till July 17 in the Bay of Bengal.

At a time when Chinese nuclear and conventional submarines are being increasingly spotted in the Indian Ocean, the focus on anti-submarine warfare in the joint annual military exercise assumes even greater significance.

The Malabar Exercise will witness at least 20 major warships from the three countries participating in the event. This edition of the Malabar – the 21st – is one of the biggest exercises conducted in the Indian Ocean Region. The presence of two aircraft carriers and a helicopter carrier in Malabar is rare. The JS Izumo helicopter carrier is the largest warship of Japan.


1. The exercise will take place in the Southern Indian Ocean Region – an area through which a majority of the world trade passes.

2.  Importantly, the three navies will also be working on ways to launch and sustain expeditionary forces.

3.  China has reclaimed land and constructed forward military bases in Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reefs, which are part of the contested Spratly Islands.

4.  The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), a US think tank which is part of Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies, has said that the Chinese forward military in the Spratly Islands included hangers for fighters, infrastructure to store and launch fire missiles and advanced surveillance radars.

5.  Talking about the importance of the exercise to India Today, Rear Admiral Kapil Gupta (retd), who has planned previous similar exercises, said, “China’s presence in the Indian Ocean Region has been increasing with increased trade flows.

6.  Submarine operations in the region pose the greatest threat. While China is trying to showcase its power and protect its interest, countries like India too are working with friendly navies to hone its skills.”

7.  While India will field its frontline warships like the Kolkata Class stealth destroyers, US-made long range maritime surveillance platforms like the P8i, anti-submarine warfare helicopters like the Sea King Helicopters, the United States will be fielding a Los Angeles class nuclear powered fast attack submarine USS Princeton – a Ticondergo- class A guided missile cruiser, and USS Howard – Arleigh Burke Class destroyer among other assets.

8.  And apart from the Japanese helicopter carrier Izumo, Japanese destroyer Sazanami will also participate in the exercise.

9.  Recently, the Indian Navy had warned about a sharp increase of Chinese warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region.

10. The Indian Navy is using satellites and long-range maritime surveillance planes like P8i have been picking up every movement of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean.

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