INS Viraat steams in formation, during Exercise Malabar 07-02, in the Bay of Bengal on 05 September 2007. The multinational exercise included naval forces from India, Australia, Japan, Singapore and the US.
Image Courtesy - Seaman Stephen W. Rowe, Mass Communication Specialist.
Five Nations' Navies meet for Malabar on INS Viraat
[USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs, 07 September 2007]
By Adam York, Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class
Senior Navy officers from the five nations taking part in Exercise Malabar 07-02, met on the Indian flagship INS Viraat on 04 September 2007, kicking off the four-day exercise. Rear Admiral Ravinder Kumar Dhowan, commander of the Viraat Carrier Strike Group, hosted the officers, which included USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group Commander - Rear Admiral Richard B. Wren; USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group Commander - Rear Admiral John Terence Blake; and naval officers from the Singapore, Australian and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) contingents. The exercise, which is the second Malabar this year, is taking place in the Bay of Bengal through September 7th and includes 20,000 military personnel in 28 ships and on more than 150 aircraft. "That gives you an idea of the scale of this exercise along with the ways of our dimension," said Rear Admiral Dhowan and added, "In the air, on the surface and on the water…this is going to be an enriching and rewarding experience for all the participants." Much of the exercise will focus on building working relationships between the nations. "These exercises will help in the event the nations are called to work together in real-world operations," said Rear Admiral Wren and added, "It's all about maritime security. High-end to low-end warfare – and sometimes Mother Nature throws an event at us such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and we need to be able to respond."
Malabar is traditionally a bi-annual US and Indian exercise, but April's exercise was held with the Indian Navy and the JMSDF off the Japanese island of Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean. For the second round, the Indian Navy invited the Australian, Singaporean and Japanese naval forces to take part in Malabar, marking an historic first. "It's another step toward enhancing the scope and the scale of the exercises," said Rear Admiral Dhowan. "Adding the other nations makes the exercise more complex, but consequently more realistic," said Rear Admiral J T Blake and added, "I would say that it's a significant level of complexity. This is an exercise that stresses communication." Officials agree that communications will mean for better working relationships in the future. The USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Group is on its summer deployment in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. The strike group is the USN's largest and includes the carrier, seven ships of Destroyer Squadron 15, two Aegis weapons system equipped guided-missile cruisers and Carrier Air Wing 5. The ships operate from Fleet Activities in Yokosuka, Japan and the air wing operates from Naval Air Facility in Atsugi, also in Japan. Together, they serve as the US Navy's 7th Fleet combatant force.