Last week, the four Indo-Pacific Quad countries—India, Japan, Australia, and the United States—completed a series of joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. The Malabar exercises began in the Bay of Bengal with routine air-sea drills involving destroyers, frigates, and helicopters. The second phase, held off the Malabar coast in the Arabian Sea, brought in the big ships: the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the supercarrier USS Nimitz. It was a rare opportunity for U.S. F-18s to train alongside India’s Russian-built MiG-29Ks under the direction of the U.S. Navy’s E-2 Hawkeye surveillance aircraft.
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