India snubs China, includes Australia in joint naval exercise with Japan, US

The Malabar exercises will take place in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in November

The naval exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral joint show of strength by Indian Navy and US Navy. Japan joined in 2015 and now Australia is the latest entrant. (File photo)

India rubbed China the wrong way when it included Australia in the joint high-level Malabar naval exercises, which includes US and Japan.

The high-level Malabar naval exercise now has all the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) members, including US and Japan.

The Malabar exercises will take place in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal in November.

The naval exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral joint show of strength by Indian Navy and US Navy. Japan joined in 2015 and now Australia is the latest to join.

This annual exercise has been conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea in 2018, off the coast the Japan in 2019 and is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea later this year.

Quad foreign ministers had met in Tokyo early this month where they had discussed the issue of Australia’s inclusion in Malabar exercise. India was reluctant to include Australia for all these years to avoid a confrontation with Beijing, but with ongoing tension with China on LAC, India has finally taken a decision to bring Australia in. Notably, Japan and the US had been asking India to include Australia in the naval exercise for a long time now.

In a press statement, New Delhi said “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.”

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This year, the exercise has been planned on a “non-contact – at sea” format. The participating countries “collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order,” said the statement.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India that is maintained by semi-regular summits, information exchanges and military drills between member countries. The forum is a diplomatic and military arrangement, widely viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power.

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