The Malabar Exercise is an annual trilateral naval exercise involving India, the United States of America (US) and Japan. Originally a bilateral exercise between the US and India, Japan was invited as a permanent member in 2015. Non-permanent participants in the past have included Australia and Singapore.
The naval exercise began in the Bay of Bengal on Monday (10 July).
Participating in this exercise for the US are the USS Nimitz – the largest warship in its class, the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton, guided missile destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup and USS Kidd, a Poseidon P8A Aircraft and a Los Angeles Fast Attack Submarine.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ships JS Izumo and JS Sazanami are also participating along with the Indian Naval Ships INS Jalashwa and INS Vikramaditya.
The thrust of the exercises this year is on aircraft carrier operations, air defence, joint manoeuvres and tactical procedures.
A US Commander said the Malabar Exercise is a signal to China that we – the US, Japan and India – are one. Vice Admiral Bisht, however, denied that Malabar 2017 had any implication with respect to the current standoff with China. He said the exercise was a long-term strategic relationship among the three nations.