Even as ‘Quad’ meets in New York, India, US, Japan all set for Malabar wargames

NEW DELHI: As the first-ever “Quad” meeting at the foreign minister-level takes place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week, warships and aircraft from three of the countries are amassing over 7,100 miles away in the Western Pacific for high-voltage wargames that have often irked China.
The 23rd edition of the top-notch “Malabar” naval exercise among India, the US and Japan kicks off Sasebo in Japan on Wednesday, with Australia being the sole “Quad” member not involved in the 10-day wargames.
Indian defence establishment sources say India has separately cranked up military ties with Australia, which saw the two countries conduct their biggest-ever naval exercise called “AusIndEx” to “build inter-operability” off the Visakhapatnam coast in April this year.
“So, willy-nilly, there is already a military dimension to the Quad, a group of like-minded democracies who are for a free, open and rules-based order in the Indian Ocean Region, South China Sea or elsewhere, as opposed to an aggressive China in the Indo-Pacific,” said a source.
India has been against any militarization of the Quad, much like it was even opposed to upgrading it to a ministerial-level dialogue till now, to not needlessly antagonize a prickly China. In 2007, for instance, Beijing objected to the Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal because it was expanded to include Japan, Australia and Singapore as well. While Japan has now become a regular participant in Malabar, India has not agreed to include Australia just yet.
For the latest Malabar, India has sent its 6,100-tonne stealth frigate INS Sahyadari, anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kiltan and Poseidon-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. “This is the first time one of our P-8I aircraft has been deployed to Japan,” said another source.
The US, in turn, is fielding Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McCampbell, amphibious warship USS Green Bay and a Los Angeles class nuclear fast attack submarine, while Japan has the 27,000-tonne Izumo-class helicopter carrier JS Kaga, destroyer Samidare and crusier Chokai.
“With anti-submarine warfare being an important element in Malabar, all three countries are deploying their maritime patrol aircraft equipped with radars, missiles and torpedoes. India and the US operate difRead More – Source