June 6, 2018

Australia not attending US/India/Japan Naval Exercise MALABAR 2018

COMMENT

Australia has chosen not to participate in Exercise MALABAR 2018. This is very likely due to Australia’s desire not to offend its largest trading partner and regional strategic threat, China. Way back in 2007 I wrote a MALABAR 2007 article for Newsweekly. In 2007 Australia did participate.

China is concerned MALABAR is just one manifestation of an informal "Quadrilateral" US/Japan/India/Australia alliance (or security dialogue) designed to contain Chinese military power in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. China usually succeeds in dissuading Australia, the weakest member, from being fully active in the Quadrilateral.

2018 ARTICLE

Dinakar Peri for The Hindu, June 5, 2018, reports from New Delhi 

"War games to hone anti-submarine skills

Malabar exercise from June 7 to 16. - The Navies of India, Japan and the U.S. will enhance their anti-submarine warfare skills in this year’s Malabar naval war games to be held off the coast of Guam [in the Western Pacific Ocean] from June 7 to 16.

For the first time in a Malabar exercise, all three Navies are deploying their maritime reconnaissance (MR) aircraft to sharpen those skills.

“Each side has aircraft which can lay sono buoys and we will also monitor each other’s sono buoys. We will cross-attach people from all three countries,” the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral G. Ashok Kumar, said.

While the Indian Navy is deploying a P-8I long-range MR aircraft, the U.S. is deploying two P-8A aircraft and Japan is sending a Kawasaki P-1 MR aircraft. In addition, Japan and the U.S. have anti-submarine warfare helicopters on board their helicopter carrier JS Ise and aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, respectively.

[So ships include:
-  India’s frigate INS Sahyadri, fleet tanker INS Shakti and large corvette INS Kamorta all from
   India's Fleet Base East at Vishakhapatnam
-  USS Ronald Reagan, Aegis class cruisers USS Antietam and Chancellorsville, some destroyers and
   Los Angeles class submarine USS Pasadena (SSN-752), and
-  Japan's Hyuga class helicopter destroyer JS Ise, Takanami class destroyer JS Suzunami, and
   Akizuki class destroyer JS Fuyuzuki. For the very first time Japan is deploying an (unnamed) Soryu
   class submarine.]

...[Exercise MALABAR] began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the US and has over the years increased in scope and complexity with particular focus on ASW in view of increasing Chinese submarine movement in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy patrols."

Pete

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