Malabar 2019: Deepening US-India Defense Cooperation On Display

120413-N-UT411-2510 INDIAN OCEAN (April 13, 2012) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and the Indian Navy replenishment oiler INS Shakti (A57) conduct a refueling-at-sea exercise. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are deployed participating in the Malabar Exercise with ships and aircraft from the Indian Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Apprentice Andrew K. Haller/Released), modified,

The 2019 edition of the Malabar naval exercises recently concluded off Sasebo in Japan. Malabar had started out as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the US way back in 1992, and Japan was included as a permanent member of the same in 2015.  Malabar comes against the backdrop of increased tensions in the South China Sea and the wider Indo-Pacific region as China flexes its military muscles while the United States, its allies, and like-minded countries insist on a rules-based order in the region. In addition, there are a host of other challenges that countries in the region face which include the likes of piracy, human-smuggling, gun-running, maritime terrorism etc.

While Japan is a treaty ally of the United States, the US and India have come a lot closer in the last couple of years. New Delhi has been importing a host of weapons platforms, of late, from the US.  Recently, the Indian Air Force inducted eight AH-64E Apache attack helicopters bought from the US. The timing of the exercises is also important as ministers from the Quad countries (India, Japan, the US and Australia) met for a meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly). This was the first-ever ministerial level meeting of the Quad countries.

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