Malabar Exercise 2020
Source: US Navy

Quad drills are turning into reality and a nightmare for China. The Indian Defense Ministry has officially released a statement to invite Australia into the Malabar Drills.

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The Defense Ministry said in a statement,

“As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.”

India and China are already in a tense standoff in the Ladakh region. The relationship between the neighbors has reached a new low after China occupied Indian land in the Eastern Ladakh region. India has acted in a strong manner and occupied many hilltops to strategically push the Chinese in backfoot. Currently, both the armies are defending their positions in the sub-zero temperature.

This year the Malabar Exercise would be based on ‘non-contact-at-sea’ in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea this November.

The Malabar Exercise began in 1992 between the US and India as maritime cooperation. Japan permanently joined in 2015. Australia participated in 2007. However, since then due to protests from Beijing, India kept Australia away from the exercise.

Not any longer, with the diplomatic ties between Australia and India growing stronger, Australia might soon find a permanent position in the Malabar exercise.

India pushed for the democracies to come together who support free, open, and collective Indo-Pacific and remain committed to international order and law.

Marise Payne, the Australian Foreign Minister hailed the decision and termed it as an important step in strengthening the Indo-Australia relationship. She said that the Quad Drills would ensure that Australia, Japan, India, and the US work together to uphold peace and stability in the region.

Australian Defence Minister Lynda Reynolds said after accepting the invitation on similar lines.

Nikkei Asia reported that 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.”

This step further enhances the possibility of Quad Drills and cooperation rather than only meeting.

The announcement is likely to anger China. Chinese Communist Party has basically discarded the concept of Quad previously to a non-existent dream. However, as things unfold, Beijing will be watchfully monitoring the situation.