The landing platform dock INS Jalashwa (LPD 41) hosted the opening ceremonies of exercise Malabar 2017 in Chennai, India, July 10.
Leaders from U.S., Indian, and Japanese maritime forces gathered for the ceremony and a press conference. In attendance were the commanding officers of the three navies, more than 200 members of the Japanese and Indian media, and hundreds of Jalashwa crew members. Attendees watched multimedia video presentations that described past Malabar engagements and listened to the various leaders discuss the purpose of the exercise.
Malabar is an annual maritime exercise with the Indian Navy. The objectives of Malabar 2017 are to improve interoperability between U.S., Indian and Japanese maritime forces, provide an opportunity to conduct engagement with India and Japan, and demonstrate U.S. naval presence in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
“It indicates a joint commitment to preserve good order at sea and address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific region for the benefit of the global maritime community”, said Vice Admiral H. C. S. Bisht, flag officer commanding-in-chief, Eastern Naval Command, India.
The exercise takes place in two parts. The in-port phase includes engagements with community organizations in Chennai, India designed to strengthen ties. The at-sea phase exercises the participating ships and aircraft capabilities to harness high warfighting skills in the Bay of Bengal.
The in-port phase will also include subject matter expert and professional exchanges on carrier strike group operations; maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations; surface and anti-submarine warfare; helicopter operations; medical operations; damage control; explosive ordnance disposal (EOD); ship tours; and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations.
The at-sea phase will consist of training exercises involving surface warfare, air defense, gunnery, mine, communications, search and rescue, and VBSS exercises. There will also be professional exchanges and embarks, submarine familiarization, high-value unit defense, helicopter cross-deck evolutions, underway replenishments, and anti-submarine warfare exercises. These exchanges give crews an invaluable opportunity to learn from one another and share best practices.
U.S. participants in exercise Malabar include the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68); Carrier Air Wing 11; Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Shoup (DDG 86), and USS Kidd (DDG 100); the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59); a P-8A Poseidon aircraft; and a submarine.
“The strength of the Navy is important to us because the United States has interests in the Indian Ocean”, said Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander, Nimitz Strike Group. “Our participation in Malabar 2017 and in past Malabar’s indicates our intense interests in maritime security in the Indo-Asia Pacific region”.