PHILIPPINE SEA (April 8, 2011) Lt. Brian Zimmerman, flight deck officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), explains how flight deck control manages aircraft to Indian naval officers of the Eastern Fleet. Ronald Reagan is participating in Exercise Malabar. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin B. Gray)

PHILIPINNE SEA - With their final exercise events April 9, the U.S. and Indian navies drew Malabar to a close.

Malabar is an annual bilateral naval field training exercise conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues. The exercise helps enhance military-to-military coordination between the two nations and help to strategize and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.

Cmdr. David Miller, commanding officer of the guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57)said it is important to have exercises like Malabar.

“In today’s global environment all actions are in conjunction with a multilateral partner,” said Miller. As the U.S. and India are two of the largest democracies in the world, it’s important to conduct exercises like Malabar so we’re able to work effectively.”

Miller also commented on how Malabar strengthens ties between people of each Navy. “Any time we’re able to work with the Indian Navy our ties are strengthened. A major component of the exercise is trading liaison officers and having officers from their Navy, Marine, and Special Operations board our ships as well as having our officers board theirs,” said Miller.

Miller pointed out how Malabar helps both navies accomplish common objectives in the region.

“One of our big objectives is theater security operations. That involves strengthening ties, freedom of seas, combating piracy, and helping secure worldwide trade. The Indian Navy provides a big piece of that and this exercise prepares us for any future requirements,” said Miller.

Miller added that the cross-training between the two navies made the exercise a success. “My crew learned a lot. We had very successful training with special warfare teams, and operations with other ships. Being able to meet CO’s from Indian vessels was a great opportunity to share experiences,” said Miller.

Events that were executed as part of the exercise included; liaison officer professional exchanges and embarks; communications exercises; surface action group exercise operations; formation maneuvering; helicopter cross deck evolutions; underway replenishments; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; visit, board, search and seizure; and anti submarine warfare.

Due to USS Ronald Reagan's (CVN 76) completion of support in Operation Tomodachi, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group’s location afforded the opportunity for the strike group to have limited participation in exercise Malabar.

In addition to Reagan, the strike group brought new participants to join Malabar including Carrier Strike Group 7; Destroyer Squadron 7; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14; USS Chancellorsville (CG 63); and USS Pebble. These additions brought approximately 5,000 Sailors to the exercise to work with other U.S. Navy units already participating since April 3 which include USS Stethem (DDG 63); USS Sterett (DDG 104); USS Reuben James (FFG 57); and a nuclear-powered attack submarine.