Quad countries set to begin Malabar Naval Exercise off Australia

The ‘Quad’ countries of India, the US, Japan, and Australia are all set to launch their top-notch Malabar Naval Exercise off Sydney this week.

The main aim of this 10-day exercise is to further bolster military interoperability amid China’s continuing aggressive moves in the Indo-Pacific.

The `Quad’ countries, on their part, have openly and repeatedly declared their intent to deter any `coercion’ in the Indo-Pacific.

Noteworthy, India has dispatched guided-missile destroyer INS Kolkata, multi-mission frigate INS Sahyadri and a P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft for the Malabar Naval Exercise from August 11 to 21, 2023.

While Australia is fielding destroyer HMAS Brisbane and Bay-class landing ship HMAS Choules.

On the other hand, the US and Japan have sent one warship each for the exercise.

Also, except for Japan, the other three will also deploy aircraft for the exercise.

To be noted that the annual Malabar exercise, which started as a bilateral endeavour between India and the US in 1992, now includes Japan and Australia as regular participants.

Though this year’s exercise, which is being conducted for the first-time off Australia, is relatively small in terms of the number of warships, the level of complexity will be high with air, surface, and sub-surface operations.

While India has forged an expansive defence cooperation with the US over the last two decades, it has also steadily cranked up bilateral military ties with Japan and Australia now.

Besides, India has inked reciprocal military logistics agreements, which provide for refuelling and berthing facilities for each other’s warships and aircraft, with the other three Quad countries.

India and Australia have also shed their earlier inhibitions in the face of China continuing to make strategic inroads into the Indian Ocean Region with a navy that is the world’s largest with 355 warships and submarines. 

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/