Malabar Naval Exercise 2021 - Indian Navy, US Navy, Japanese Navy & Australian Navy

Malabar Exercise 2021 started on 26th August 2021. It is a four-day quadrilateral exercise between navies of India, US, Japan and Australia. Know about the relevant facts on Malabar Naval Exercise 2021 and its previous editions for the IAS Exam in this article.  The below article will also provide a list of other Maritime Naval Exercises carried out by the Indian Navy with Navies of other countries, to deepen defence ties and develop greater synergy.

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-

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

UPSC 2021

Key Points Malabar Exercise 2021

  1. The first phase of the exercise Malabar 2021 is conducted in the Philippine Sea. The second phase will take place in the Northern Arabian Sea.
  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, India is going to deploy:
    • INS Shivalik (F 47)
    • INS Kadmatt (P 29)
    • A fleet of P8I maritime surveillance aircraft
  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  USS Barry (DDG 52)

USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204)

Australian Navy in Malabar Exercise Anzac-class frigate HMAS Warramonga (FFH 152)
Japan Navy in Malabar Exercise Izumo-class multi-purpose 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 will take place in the Northern Arabian Sea.

Among which countries Malabar exercise started?

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

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