On Thursday, members of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue - the U.S. joined Japan, Australia and India to conduct joint defense drills in the Indian Ocean, expanding their security partnership amid China's growing military influence in the region.
The second phase of the annual Malabar Exercise, which had included all four independent members for the second straight year, had begun Monday, according to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force
On the final day, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Carl Vinson, the U.S. Navy's top commander was aboard 12 senior Indian Navy officers aboard the USS Mike Gilday aircraft carrier.
Those attending India Chief Naval Staff Adm. Karambir Singh and Vice Adm. A.B. were among those visiting. Singh, commander in chief of Eastern Naval Command.
Gilday's visit to Carl Vinson during Malabar was an important opportunity to see first hand the integration between our two navies at sea, said Gilday in a U.S. Navy news release.
We are continued to show our navies by our navies doing together, as we are doing right now alongside Australian naval forces, there is no doubt that our partnership will continue to grow. Cooperation, applied with naval power, promotes freedom and peace, and prevents coercion, intimidation and aggression, he said.
U.S. Navy Participants included aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale and a P - 8 A Poseidon marine patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
Japan has sent its helicopter carrier JS Kaga and destroyer JS Murasame.
Representing the Indian Navy was the multirole strike destroyer INS Ranvijay, guided missile frigate INS Satpura and an I P- 8 I naval patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The presence of multiple naval patrol and reconnaissance aircraft signaled that the participants engaged in anti-submarine warfare drills in Bay of Bengal.
During the first phase of the Malabar exercise, which began August 1, the countries practiced maritime operations near Guam and in the Philippine Sea. This year's drills were spread over the course of three months, unlike the roughly eight-day exercise held in November 2020.
The Malabar exercise originated as bilateral drills between India and the U.S. Australia joined the framework in 2015, and Japan rejoined the framework last year.
Quad leaders held their first prelims meeting in September, vowing to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China SeasChina Seas. That statement did not mention China or their military cooperation, likely out of consideration for India's position that the Quad is not a military alliance.
The bloc wants to avoid pushing China too far on the diplomatic stage. They will instead conduct regular joint drills on a regular basis to demonstrate their cooperation and to discourage excessive moves by Beijing.
The latest exercise comes as multilateral drills, including those involving European players, grow common in Indo-Pacific.
Participants included the USS Queen Elizabeth from the U.K. and the Carl Vinson from the U.S. as well as the HMS Ronald Reagan from the United States.
In August, Queen Elizabeth also practiced maritime operations with the Maritime SDF in the East China SeaChina Sea as the U.K. leverages the carrier's deployment to Japan to deepen its security cooperation with Asia In May, Japan's Ground SDF conducted a joint drill simulating remote island defenses with the French Army and the U.S. Marine Corps in Japan.