The 26th edition of the multinational maritime exercise MALABAR 22 culminated in the seas off Japan on 15 November 2022. This edition also marked the 30th anniversary of the exercise and was hosted by the JMSDF.
Eastern Fleet ships Shivalik and Kamorta led by Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, represented the Indian Navy. Malabar series of exercises began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and the US and gained further prominence with the joining of the navies of Australia and Japan.
The sea phase of MALABAR 22 was conducted over a period of five days near Yokosuka and witnessed live weapon firings, surface, anti-air, and anti-submarine warfare drills, and tactical procedures. Another highlight of the sea phase was the conduct of the War at Sea exercise which enabled all four navies to consolidate interoperability and hone their tactical skills.
The high-tempo exercise saw the participation of eleven surface ships including a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with its integral air elements, along with four long-range maritime patrol aircraft, integral helicopters, and two submarines. The exercise also involved the exchange of ‘Sea Riders’ between various participating ships.
Apart from operational drills and exercises, the bilateral logistics support agreements between the participating countries were validated during this edition of exercise Malabar.
The exercise helped enhance my understanding of each other’s operational methodologies and ability to cooperate to tackle myriad maritime challenges.