Canberra: Calling Australia’s participation at the annual Malabar exercises as a “milestone”, the country in its first reaction on the development said that it showcases the deep trust between the four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.
A joint release by the Australian foreign and defence ministries 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.”
The invitation for participation in the exercises was sent by New Delhi to Canberra recently.
The exercises which will take place in November will see all the four quad member countries participating in exercises in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea.
Australian defence minister Linda 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”
The sentiment was echoed by Australian foreign minister Marise Payne, who expressed, “This builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to which Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Modi agreed on 4 June 2020, and which I progressed with my counterpart, Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar, this month when we met in Tokyo.”
Australia last participated in exercises in 2007 and this will be after over a decade it will be back in the exercises which is bound to irk China.
China has already been upset with quad, calling it Asian Nato, and coming together of all 4 quad countries under the Malabar exercises umbrella is bound to draw a sharp reaction from Beijing.
The Indian and Australian Navies already have bilateral exercises and the Indian Navy has been going to the Australian waters for multilateral exercises.
This is to be noted that New Delhi has Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with all the three countries – United States, Japan and Australia.