Amid the ongoing stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh, Malabar naval drills will be conducted next month with the participation of India, the U.S., Japan and Australia, India’s Ministry of Defense announced on 19th October. Australian naval assets will participate the annual exercise after 13 years, the last time it took part in Malabar exercise was in 2007.
“As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy,” the Indian Ministry said in a statement.
The upcoming Malabar 2020 exercise “showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests,” said Australia’s Minister for Defense Linda Reynolds, according to the Australian statement.
“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,” she said.
Malabar will “will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region,” Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said, according to the statement.
The exercise is scheduled to be held end November and the planning conference to finalise the modalities of the exercise is scheduled to be held virtually end of October.
Exercise Malabar is a quadrilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan, Australia, and India as permanent partners. Originally begun in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, Japan became a permanent partner in 2015.