New Delhi: This decision is sure to irk China, which had also objected in the past when Australia was invited to the exercise in 2007. Amid the tension at the borders in Ladakh, this decision is attains significance as an increasingly assertive India tries its best to match the aggressive military and foreign policy tactics used all over the globe by Beijing.
The annual Malabar naval exercise is going to be held by the end of 2020 bringing together the navies of the US, Japan, India and most probably Australia- this was confirmed by senior MEA officials requesting anonymity.
New Delhi is planning to formally invite Australia after clearance and consultations with all parties involved, the senior Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials said.
It would send a significant message to China that the “Quad- US, Australia, India and Japan-are de facto conducting joint naval exercises, even if not technically conducting under the auspices of a Quad event” Derek Grossman, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, Washington US said.
Though the Malabar exercises have been going on since 1992, they have been quite regular since 2004 with other nations too joining the event
Beijing had objected to the inclusion of Japan to this annual exercise in 2015 when its foreign military spokesperson Hong Lei warning to not ‘provoke confrontation and create tensions’ in the Asian region. Its response is expected in a similar fashion this time too.
With the inclusion of Australia, the Malabar naval exercise aims to be more important than ever, especially considering the ways China is asserting its power all over the world.