Quad nations navy chiefs meet in Japan ahead of Malabar multilateral exercise
The naval chiefs of India, Australia, Japan and the United States, the four nations that make up the Quadrilateral (Quad) Group, met in Japan on November 5, 2022 and exchanged points of view on “improving interoperability” in future editions of Malabar. multilateral naval exercise. Meanwhile, in another development, a Chinese research vessel, ‘Yuan Wang-6’, entered the Indian Ocean via the Sunda Strait.
The Tokyo meeting precedes a series of multilateral engagements over the next two weeks that will be hosted by Japan, including naval war games. This year also marks 30 years of Exercise Malabar, which began as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States in 1992.
Although the course of the Chinese vessel is not known, official sources said the Indian Navy is closely monitoring its movements. It comes just three months after a major diplomatic confrontation between India and Sri Lanka over the docking of a similar vessel at the port of Hambantota in the island nation in August.
Earlier in the day, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral R. Hari Kumar, arrived on an official visit to Japan from November 5-9, where he will attend the international review of Fleet (IFR) led by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. in Yokosuka on November 6 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its formation, the Indian Navy said in a statement.
“During the visit, as one of the observing navies of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), CNS will attend the 18th WPNS on November 07-08 in Yokohama, hosted by Japan, as a current president of the WPNS,” the Navy said.
In addition, Admiral Kumar will also attend the inauguration of Exercise Malabar taking place in Yokosuka and interact with his counterparts and other heads of delegations from nearly 30 countries participating in the IFR, WPNS and Exercise Malabar, according to the Navy.
Indian Navy ships Shivalik and Kamorta arrived in Yokosuka on November 2 to participate in IFR and Exercise Malabar. “The presence of these locally built Indian Navy vessels at these multinational events will be an opportunity to showcase the shipbuilding capabilities of Indian shipyards at a major international gathering,” the navy added.
Chinese research vessel
The timing of Yuan Wang-6’s entry coincides with a long-range missile test planned by India next week. According to the open source intelligence handle on Twitter @detresfa, India issued a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) notification, for a no-fly zone over the Bay of Bengal between November 10-11 for a distance maximum of 2,200 km. Given the range, the test is likely to be tied to an Agni series of intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
According to maritime vessel tracking portal marinetraffic.com, the Yuan Wang-6 left Jiangyin, China on Oct. 21 and, as of the morning of Nov. 4, was near Indonesia and heading southwest.
While research activities are permitted in international waters in accordance with international regulations, the data generated has a dual nature, including military, and often the motive of Chinese vessels appears questionable, defense officials said.
Just a few days ago, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said that a Chinese survey vessel entered Japanese territorial waters in the early hours of November 2. This, according to an article in The diplomat by Takahashi Kosuke with the Janes Defense Weeklywas the fourth time a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ship entered Japanese waters this year, a record.
In the past, Chinese Navy ships have been seen nearby while Exercise Malabar was underway.
As reported by The Hindu earlier, there has been a steady increase in the deployment of Chinese research vessels to the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and the general deployment area observed is around the east ridge at ninety degrees and the South West Indian Ridge. Research or survey vessels have powerful equipment for spying and collecting a range of data.
Speaking at an event in September, Admiral Kumar said: “At any given time, we have between five and eight units of the Chinese navy, be it warships or research vessels. and a multitude of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the IOR. We monitor them and see how they carry out their activities at the IOR.
The Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean began in 2008 under the guise of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and China has since maintained a continuous presence in the region, even occasionally deploying submarines. nuclear attack.
China has since set up a military base in Djibouti and developed several dual-use ports in the RIO in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan, among other countries. “We have plane exits, [and] the ships deployed almost 24/7 to keep an eye on the IOR,” Admiral Kumar had said.