India ropes in all QUAD nations to participate in Malabar naval exercise

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India on Monday formally invited Australia for the naval drill to be held next month at Malabar, where the exercise will take place in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Amidst the ongoing tensions with China, the naval exercise is likely to attract protests from Beijing. While the Malabar drill has been a continuing exercise between India, United States and Japan, inclusion of Australian naval forces completes the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) between the said four countries.
Accepting the invite, Linda Reynolds, Australian Defense Minister said that exercise is about ” demonstrating a collective resolve to support open and prosperous Indo-Pacific”. India’s invitation came two weeks after the extensive talks by the QUAD Foreign Ministers in Tokyo were held on October 6 with a focus on enhancing Indo-Pacific cooperation in the region where China’s military assertion is increasing.
” This builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to which Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister 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” said Marise Payne, Australian Foreign Minister.
Australia’s participation in the Malabar drill was last observed in 2007, which had sparked Beijing to issue a demarche to India, United States and Australia asking for details on the exercise included in the QUAD initiative. Earlier this month, United States Foreign Minister Mike Pence had also suggested for QUAD to act as a counterbalance to Beijing calling for all allies to unite against China’s exploitation, corruption and coercion in the region.

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