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US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson will join Malabar maritime exercise to boost fire power

Aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (Photo: @CVN70/Twitter)

Phase two of the Malabar maritime exercise 2021 will see the entry of Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson along with the navies of India, Japan and Australia.

The exercise will be held on 12-15 October in the Bay of Bengal. The first phase was held in the Philippines Sea from 26–29 Aug 2021 where India had sent four warships in a clear message to China.

From India's side, INS Ranvijay, INS Satpura, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and one submarine will join the exercise.

US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson will be joined by two destroyers–USS Lake Champlain and USS Stockdale. The USS Carl Vinson is a giant of a vessel with nearly 90 fighters on board. It had recently traversed the contested waters around Taiwan.

The Malabar exercise has seen an expansion as a challenge to China's bellicosity in the Indo-Pacific region. Even otherwise, the four Quad partners are holding regular exercises between themselves and strengthening interoperability between their forces.

According to a statement by the Indian Defence Ministry, the Japanese navy will be represented by JS Kaga and JS Murasame and the Australian navy will be represented by HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius.

Just a few days back the Japanese ships were at the Colombo Port for a joint exercise with the Sri Lanka navy. Similarly, the Indian navy had held exercises with Sri Lanka a month earlier.

The second phase of the Malabar exercises comes on the heels of the trilateral agreement between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) that seeks to empower Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The AUKUS is clear that Australia, which sees China as a threat, has to be supported in its military capacities.

The defence ministry said: "The second phase of the Malabar exercise would build upon the synergy, coordination and interoperability developed during the First Phase of the exercise and would focus on advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings".

The Malabar series of exercises, which began as an annual bilateral naval exercise between India and the US in 1992, has been joined by Japan and, last year, by Australia. The four countries emphasise upon a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific that allows for freedom of navigation for all.

This would be the 25th edition of the maritime exercise, being conducted according to Covid-19 safety protocols.

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