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India announces that Australia will participate in the Malabar naval exercise.

Image Credit: PTI photo

On Monday, India has announced that Australia will participate in the next month’s Malabar naval exercise. The exercise that has been conducted annually yearly since 1992. The exercise has grown in size and complexity. It will be the first time to include all four nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad since they met back in 2007, after a decade-long hiatus.

The Malabar naval exercise was originally a bilateral exercise between India and the United States. Japan joined the group in 2015. The three permanent partners of the Malabar exercise agreement are United States, Japan and India. Australia and Singapore and non-permanent partners of the exercise. The inclusion of Australia in this exercise this year, along with the three permanent partners indicates the seriousness of this exercise, as tensions between India and China, as well as tensions over the South China Sea continue to escalate. The last time all the countries participated, including the non-permanent members was in 2007, when Singapore and Australia joined.

Back in 2018, Australia was refused from participating in the exercise by India. Experts believe that the reason for their refusal back in 2018, was due to India’s belief that Australia did not view China as a security threat as India and Japan.

Indian’s Ministry of Defense announced that the inclusion of Australia in the naval exercise meant to show that the QUAD countries ‘collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.’

Australia Defense Minister, Linda Reynolds, said,

High-end military exercises like MALABAR are key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities, building interoperability with our close partners, and demonstrating our collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Defense Minister Linda Reynolds

Foreign Minister Marise Payne, said

It will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne

The exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam back in 2018, and off the coast of Japan in 2019.

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