Malabar Naval Exercise

Malabar Exercise 2023 concluded on the East Coast of Australia off Sydney on 21 August 23. This was the 27th edition of the exercise. India, Australia, Japan and the US participated in the naval exercise. Know about the relevant facts on Malabar Naval Exercise 2023 and its previous editions for the IAS Exam in this article.

You can go through the list of exercises of the Indian Army on the given link.

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What is Malabar Exercise?

Malabar Exercise started off in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between Indian and US navies. In 2015, Japan joined the exercise Malabar, making it a trilateral naval exercise. In 2020, the Australian Navy had joined the Malabar Exercise, making it a quadrilateral naval exercise. Earlier, Australia joined the exercise in 2007.

Salient points about Malabar Exercise 

  • It is a trilateral naval exercise. But due to the participation of Australia in 2020 & 2021, it has become a quadrilateral exercise.
  • It takes place annually in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans alternatively.
  • The first Malabar Exercise in the Bay of Bengal took place in 2007.
  • Singapore and Australia have been non-permanent members previously.
  • This exercise includes a diverse range of activities such as fighter combat operations and maritime interdiction operations.
  • The aim of the Malabar Exercise of India, US, Japan and Australia is to coordinate for free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

Aspirants can go through other important exercises for comprehensive preparation of upcoming Civil Services exam-

Maitree Exercise Nomadic Elephant Garuda Shakti
Shakti Exercise Dharma Guardian Hand in Hand Exercise

UPSC 2023

Malabar Exercise 2023 – Key Points

The 27th exercise saw the participation of ships, submarines and aircraft from the Indian Navy (IN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the US Navy (USN).

  • Exercise MALABAR 23 was conducted in two phases, which included a harbour phase from 11-15 August 2023 and a sea phase from 16-21 August 2023.
  • The participating ships from India were Destroyer INS Kolkata, Frigate INS Sahyadri and P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • The sea phase of Ex Malabar witnessed complex and high-intensity exercises in air, surface and undersea domains, weapon firings and cross-deck helicopter operations.

Malabar Exercise 2022 – Key Points

The 26th edition of the Malabar exercise was conducted in two phases in November 2022. It was hosted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. One of Malabar 2022’s major highlights was the execution of a ‘War at Sea’ exercise, which allowed the QUAD navies to strengthen interoperability and hone tactical abilities. The advanced naval exercise witnessed live weapon firings, surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills and tactical procedures during the sea phase. Exercise Malabar’s sea phase was conducted over a period of five days near Yokosuka in Japan.

Malabar Exercise 2021 – Key Points

  1. The first phase of the exercise Malabar 2021 is conducted in the Philippine Sea. The second phase is being held in the Bay of Bengal.
  2. It is the 25th edition of the Malabar Exercise.
  3. Malabar 2021 has been hosted by the US Navy and the first phase of the exercise will be used as an opportunity for the four Indo-Pacific navies to operate together and strengthen their skills in combined maritime operations, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, live-fire gunnery events, replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime interdiction operations
  4. In 2021 Exercise Malabar, Indian Navy participated using:
    • INS Ranvijay
    • INS Satpura
    • P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft
    • Submarine
    • INS Shivalik (F 47)
    • INS Kadmatt (P 29)
  5. This year, the exercise includes Naval Special Warfare forces during phase 1 to address irregular maritime threats and enhance integration with traditional naval forces.
  6. The ships/aircrafts deployed by the US, Japan and Australian Navies in the Malabar 2021 are mentioned in the table below:

Malabar Exercise 2021 


Naval Ships/Aircrafts

US Navy in Malabar Exercise 
  • Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson along with two destroyers
    • USS Lake Champlain
    • USS Stockdale
  • USS Barry (DDG 52)
  • USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204)
Australian Navy in Malabar Exercise
  • HMAS Ballarat
  • HMAS Sirius.
  • Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramonga (FFH 152)
Japan Navy in Malabar Exercise
  • Izumo-class multipurpose operation destroyer – JS Kaga (DDH 184)
  • Murasame-class destroyers JS Murasame (DD 101) and JS Shiranui (DD 120)

Participation of Australia in Malabar Exercise 2021

  1. The inclusion of Australia in the Malabar Exercise was discussed upon in October 2020 Foreign Ministers’ Meet of QUAD.
  2. In 2017, Australia requested the observer status in the Malabar Exercise.

Malabar 2020 – India, US, Japan & Australia’s Joint Maritime Exercise

In the account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malabar Naval Exercise 2020 was planned on a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format. The ships/aircrafts deployed by the US, Japan and Australian Navies in the Malabar 2020 are mentioned in the table below:

Malabar Exercise 2020 
Navies Naval Ships/Aircrafts
US Navy in Malabar Exercise USS John S. McCain
Australian Navy in Malabar Exercise RAN Ship HMAS Ballarat (long-range frigate)
Japan Navy in Malabar Exercise JMSDF Ship JS Onami (destroyer)

Malabar Naval Exercise 2019 – India, US, Japanese Navy Warships,  Submarine, Aircraft’s Participation

India, Japan, and the USA are the participating countries in this trilateral exercise. The 23rd edition was conducted off the coast of Sasebo, Japan. The Trilateral Maritime Exercise began in the last week of September 2019 and ended in the first week of October 2019.

The below table gives the list of countries and their respective ships/aircraft.

Country Ships/Aircraft in the Malabar 2019 Exercise
India INS Sahyadri (Frigate) INS Kiltan (ASW Corvette). ASW stands for Anti-Submarine Warfare

P-8I (Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance and Patrol Aircraft)

USA USS Campbell (Submarine)P8A (Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft)
Japan JS Kaga (Helicopter Destroyer) JS Samidare (Missile Destroyer)
Choukai and P1 (Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft)

Malabar Naval Exercise (2018) –  Indian Navy Participation

In 2018, the annual Malabar Exercise was held from 7th to 16th June 2018. It was conducted off the Guam coast in the Philippine Sea. This was the first time that the exercise was being held in US territory. The exercise was focused on at-sea and onshore training, maritime patrol, aircraft carrier operations, visit, board, reconnaissance operations, search and seizure operations, and professional exchanges.

From the Indian Navy, the following Warships and Aircrafts Participated

  1. INS Sahyadri – Stealth frigate
  2. INS Shakti – Fleet tanker
  3. INS Kamorta
  4. Poseidon P-8l aircraft participated in the exercise.

List of  Naval Exercises – Indian Navy & Other Navies

The below table gives details on Joint Maritime Exercises conducted by the Indian Navy.

Name of Joint Maritime Exercise Participating Nations
Malabar Exercise India, USA, Japan are permanent members of this exercise. Sometimes they are joined by Navies of Australia, Singapore, etc. Started in 1992. It is usually held in the Bay of Bengal or off the coast of Japan. The last exercise was held in the Philippines Sea in the year 2019.
INDRA Exercise India and Russia. It is a bi-annual bilateral exercise that began in 2003.
Varuna Exercise India and France. It is an annual exercise usually held in the Indian Ocean or Meditteranean Sea. The last exercise was held in 2021 in the Arabian Sea.
Milan Exercise First held in 1995. It is a biennial Multilateral event. The last exercise was held in 2018, had a participation of 16 countries. It is usually held in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
IBSAMAR It is a maritime exercise held by India, South Africa, and Brazil.
SIMBEX India and Singapore. Held annually since 1994.
SLINEX India and Sri Lanka. The first exercise took place in 2004.

Candidates can find the general pattern of the UPSC Civil Service Exam by visiting the IAS Syllabus page.

FAQ about Malabar Exercise


When and where will Malabar Exercise 2021 take place?

The first phase of exercise Malabar 2021 started on August 26, 2021, at the Philippine Sea. The second phase, held in the Bay of Bengal, between 12th and 15th October 2021.

Among which countries Malabar exercise started?

The Malabar Naval Exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise.

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