Malabar Exercise 2020: Australia will participate in the Malabar naval exercise next month which will see participation of Indian Navy, US Navy, Japan Navy and Australia Navy, bringing four key defence partners together that have formed an informal also known as the Quad. The event will demonstrate the collective resolve of four democracies to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
The invitation by India to the Australian navy for the exercise came two weeks after the foreign ministers of the Quad held extensive talks in Tokyo with a focus on enhancing their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, a region that has been witnessing increasing Chinese military assertiveness.
In a joint statement with Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the announcement was another important step in Australia’s deepening relationship with India.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Payne said that the Malabar exercise also “showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests”.
Reynolds said Malabar-2020 marked a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Australia last participated in Exercise MALABAR in 2007.
The exercise will bring together four key regional defence partners India, Japan, the United States and Australia in November, it said.
Australia’s defence minister Linda Reynolds said Malabar-2020 marked a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
“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,” Reynolds said.
For the last few years, Australia has been showing keen interest in participating in the high-end naval exercise.
Australia will be returning to the joint military exercies after its participation in 2007. The US has been pushing for a deeper military collaboration with Japan, India and Australia against China’s growing regional influence.
China claims nearly all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. Beijing has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region, which, in parts, is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Beijing has impeded commercial activity like fishing and mineral exploration by neighbouring nations in recent years, saying the ownership of the resource-rich maritime territory belongs to China for hundreds of years.
Australian Foreign Minister Payne said that the Malabar exercise also “showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests”.
“This builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to which Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed on June 4, 2020, and which I progressed with my counterpart, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, this month when we met in Tokyo,” 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,” Australian leader asserted.
Participation in the naval exercise demonstrates Australia’s enduring commitment to enhancing regional security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increasing the capability and inter-operability of the ADF, she said.