By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan J. Batchelder, John C. Stennis Strike Group Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) — Ships from the Indian navy, Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Navy departed U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo to conduct the at-sea phase of Exercise Malabar 2016, June 14.

A trilateral maritime exercise, Malabar is designed to enhance dynamic cooperation between Indian navy, JMSDF and U.S. Navy in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

The exercise allows for practical training while exchanging skills and cultures, and helps to increase the understanding of multinational operations.

“At its core, originally, Exercise Malabar was started [in 1992] as a bilateral exercise between the Indian navy and the U.S.,” said Capt. Jason Gilbert, U.S. naval attache to India. “The Japanese (JMSDF) became a permanent partner in 2015, and we are now starting to see the benefits of Malabar being a trilateral exercise.”

Ships will spend the at-sea phase of Malabar in the Philippine Sea to advance the participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.

“It’s great to see the details and planning from the harbor phase [of Malabar] come to fruition at sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brent Jackson, executive officer, guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53). “It’s amazing to see thousands of tons of steel come together on the water and operate as seamlessly as we had planned.”

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