Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, India and the United States on Tuesday started the Malabar 2020 exercise in the Bay of Bengal.
Exercise Malabar began in 1992 to advance planning, integration and employment of advanced warfare tactics between participating nations and this year will feature the return of the Royal Australian Navy, according to Navy officials.
"India, Japan and Australia form the core of our strategic partners across the Indo-Pacific," Capt. Steven Moss, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 16, said in a statement.
"It is fitting to see our navies operate in a high end, tactically relevant exercise like Malabar. It is another opportunity to further strengthen our combined capabilities and enhance our partnerships," Moss said.
The exercise will include a variety of high-end tactical training, including specific interactions designed to strengthen interoperability between Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. maritime forces, officials said.
"Malabar provides an opportunity for like-minded navies, sharing a common vision for a more stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, to operate and train alongside one another," said Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, commanding officer of USS John S. McCain.
"A collaborative approach toward regional security and stability is important now more than ever, to deter all who challenge a free and open Indo-Pacific," Easterday said.
HMAS Ballarat will be the first Royal Australian Navy ship engaging in Exercise Malabar since 2007, according to RAN Commander Antony Pisani.
Along with the USS John S. McCain, others ships in the exercise will include Indian navy ships Shakti, Ranvijay, Shivalik and submarine Sinhuraj, along with various Indian navy aircraft, and from the JMSDF, the JS Onami.