Signal to China: Quad navies to sail together

Quad navies to sail together

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Quad navies to sail together
Quad navies to sail together (US, India, Japan & Australia)

In News: Quad navies to sail together

  • In the backdrop of recent border military confrontation with China, India has finally invited Australia to take part in its top-notch trilateral Malabar naval exercises with the US and Japan to be held in November this year.

News Summary:

  • The 24th edition of Malabar naval exercises is scheduled to be held in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in two phases in the first and third weeks of November.
  • In the backdrop of recent border military confrontation with China, India has finally invited Australia to take part in its these naval exercises with the US and Japan.
  • Australia quickly accepted the invite.
  • It will mark the first time the “Quad” countries will come together for the combat manoeuvres on the high seas.

To ensure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific:

  • India said the four participants 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.
  • Australia said the Malabar exercise will showcase the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and demonstrate the collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Expansion of Malabar exercise to “Quad” will send a message to China:

  • The four-nation war-games involving the four “Quad” countries will clearly signal their intent against China’s expansionist behaviour in the entire Indo-Pacific.
  • China has repeatedly expressed strong opposition to any expansion of Malabar exercises, which it sees as a multilateral naval construct designed to “counter and contain” it.
  • While India was earlier reluctant to expand the exercise to avoid antagonising China, the recent aggressive behaviour by China along the LAC has helped the Indian decision to expand the Malabar exercise.

About: Malabar Exercise

  • Indian and US navies have regularly conducted the bilateral naval exercises named ‘MALABAR’ since 1992, and became an annual feature since 2002.
  • Since 2007, MALABAR has been held alternatively off Indian Coast and in the Western Pacific.
  • It has at times been expanded to include other partners as well.
  • It was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
  • In January 2017, Australia requested that its naval assets be allowed to attend Malabar exercises as an ‘observer’, to make it a quadrilateral engagement. 
    • However, it was denied the observer status in Malabar-2017, but the possibility of its participation in future Malabar exercises was kept open.
Activities:
  • The annual Malabar series involves diverse activities, including simulated war games and combat manoeuvres.
  • For example, in 2019, it included complex maritime operations in surface, sub-surface and air domains, with focus on anti-submarine warfare, anti-air and anti-surface firings, maritime interdiction operations (MIO) and tactical scenario-based exercises at sea. 
Purpose of the exercise:
  • The Indo-Pacific region holds immense geo-political and geo-strategic significance for navies around the world.
  • The challenges of piracy, maritime terrorism, organised crime like drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related material, all have forced navies to conduct joint patrols and provide escort duties for shipping assets.
  • Besides, it is important to ensure freedom of navigation in the open seas.
  • The Malabar exercise is seen as an important exercise in enhancing maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region for the benefit of the global maritime community, by building interoperability with close like-minded partners.
  • It is a demonstration of the joint commitment by the participants to address common maritime challenges across the spectrum of operations.

Also Read: SC: Permanent commission to women in Indian Navy

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