India on Monday announced the participation of Australia in the upcoming Malabar exercise alongside the US and Japan. “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,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The Defence Ministry added that 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.
“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,” Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia said.
Payne further said the announcement was another important step in Australia’s deepening relationship with India. “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,” said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
According to a joint media statement, Australia last participated in Exercise MALABAR in 2007.