India has announced the inclusion of Australian Navy in the Malabar naval exercise amid ongoing tensions with China in eastern Ladakh. This time, the annual Malabar exercises will be held at the end of the year in the Bay of Bengal. India has sent a formal invitation to the US, Japan and Australia to join the Malabar naval exercise.
Indian Ministry of Defence 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.”
Ministry of Defence further said, “The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain. They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.”
The Malabar series of Naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise. Japan joined the Naval exercise in 2015. 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.
“This year, the exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format. The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries,” Indian Ministry of Defence said in its press release.