Australia to Take Part in Naval Drill With U.S., India and Japan

Australia to Take Part in Naval Drill With U.S., India and Japan

Australia will join the annual Malabar naval exercises to be held off the Indian coast with Japan and the U.S. this year, according to statements from the South Asian country’s defense ministry and Australia’s defense minister.

The exercise will be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, along some of the world’s busiest trade routes, to “strengthen the coordination between the Navies,” India’s Ministry of Defence said in the statement. Earlier, the exercise was held off the cost of Japan and off the coast of Guam in the Philippine sea.

The decision to include Australia in the drills — the first time all members of the regional grouping known as the Quad will be engaged militarily — comes as Beijing and New Delhi are embroiled in their worst border standoff in four decades. The exercise will take place at the end of this year.

China has been uncomfortable with the Quad coalition, which was first formed in 2004 and revived in 2017.

“Exercise Malabar also showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests,” Australia’s Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said in the statement.