Australia welcomed key partners India, Japan and the United States as Naval exercise Malabar 2023 began in Sydney on a beautiful August morning.
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said that it was historic that Australia was being afforded the honour of hosting exercise Malabar for the first time.
“The Royal Australian Navy is honoured the Indian Navy has provided us the opportunity to host Exercise Malabar; reinforcing the trust and strength of our Navy to Navy relationship.”
“This esteemed exercise provides rich opportunities for our people to work and train together, to be prepared as high-functioning teams ready to face the complex challenges of the maritime domain.”
“Exercise Malabar is an investment in Australia’s Navy to Navy relationships, as well as the relationship between the four Navies involved. In this way we complement diplomatic efforts to deepen our regional ties and contribute to a region based on trust and respect,” added Vice Admiral Hammond
Exercise Malabar is an important Indo-Pacific military exercise that seeks to deepen interoperability between participating regional partners.
Royal Australian Navy Ships HMAS Brisbane and HMAS Choules are participating in the exercise, with Navy MH60R helicopters and Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II, Hawk 127 and P-8A Poseidon aircraft. They will join partner nations in high-end training including air defence and anti-submarine exercises, aviation, communications and replenishment at sea between ships.
The Indian Navy is being represented by its multi-role stealth frigate, INS Sahyadri and indigenous destroyer INS Kolkata. A destroyer from the United States and a major surface vessel from Japan are also participating in the naval exercise.
Emphasising on the depth of the relationship between the participating navies, Vice Admiral Hammond also told Pallavi Jain how Malabar 2023 reached Australia even though it was initially going to be held in India.
On Malabar 2023 being hosted in Australia, Deputy Prime Minister, Richard Marles, said that amid the current strategic circumstances, it is more important than ever we partner with our neighbours, and deepen our defence partnerships.
“It is an honour to host Exercise Malabar for the first time here in Australia.
“Cooperation, shared understanding and knowledge coupled with training contributes to shared security and prosperity for our region.”
This year marks the 27th iteration of the Malabar series and is being held in Sydney and across Australia’s east from 10 to 21 August. As the naval vessels sailed towards Sydney harbour making their formations the synergy between the participating countries, who are also members of the Quad, was palpable.
Watch Video: The Australia Today reporting from Sydney Naval base
In reference to security considerations in the Indo-Pacific region Rear Admiral Christopher Smith told Pallavi Jain that it was important for like-minded nations to work together to respond to challenges.
Watch Video: Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Commander Australian Fleet, speaks with The Australia Today
India’s Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command is also in Sydney for Malabar 2023. He told The Australia Today that maritime domain had changed and that naval exercises of the four countries was a must.
Watch Video: India’s Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, speaks with The Australia Today
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney on the eve of the Malabar naval exercise, Commander of US Navy’s seventh fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, said that the US Navy will contest any excessive claims in the South China Sea.
Watch Video: Commander of US Navy’s seventh fleet Vice Admiral Karl Thomas in Sydney
Rear Admiral Christopher Smith also said, at this presser, that a large portion of the earth is covered by water and a large portion of it is not owned by any individual sovereign country.
Watch Video: Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Commander Australian Fleet