Quad special forces to wargame off Guam in Indo-Pacific
The Quad navies will be conducting amphibious operations involving special forces, live firing and anti-submarine warfare operations off the coast of Guam in the Indo-Pacific as part of Malabar 2021 exercises. The harbour phase of the Malabar naval exercises is scheduled on August 21-24, while the sea phase of the annual exercise will be held on August 25-29.
According to South Block sources, US Navy is bringing in no less than three warships including destroyers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P 8, anti-submarine warfare helicopters and special forces. Indian Navy will be represented by two surface combatants led by Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvijay and Frigate INS Shivalik along with maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I, ASW helicopters and special forces. The Japanese Navy is bringing in three surface combatants, a submarine mine-layer, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, ASW helicopters and special forces. The Australian Navy will participate in Malabar with one ship, ASW helicopter and special forces. The last Malabar exercise off the coast of Guam was held in 2018 with Japanese, Indian and US Navy participating in the advanced naval war games. The Australian Navy joined the Malabar exercises as part of Quad last year.
The Quad navies, according to officials, will be interacting with each other during the Malabar exercises with notes being exchanged on how to enforce the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific in wake of an aggressive Chinese Navy. The exercises will involve freedom of navigation operations with the Indian Navy conducting bilateral exercises with Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Australian Navy both in South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific.
While the Quad exercises are expected to rankle the PLA Navy and Beijing, the Chinese propaganda machine will also be hyperactive by show-casing the DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile also called the Guam killer in reference to the US Naval base in the far Pacific territory.
The Malabar exercises comes just before the much awaited Quad summit in US in which Australian, Japanese and Indian leaders will meet the US President Joe Biden in October. The dates and venue of the Quad summit are being worked out, keeping in mind the Japanese general election in that month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the G-20 summit in Italy, the COP26 in UK, the UNGA and the Quad summit this year.