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Daily News Analysis

Australia’s participation in Malabar Exercise still under discussion, says U.S. official

1st October, 2020 International Relations

Context: The inclusion of Australia in the Malabar Exercise - trilateral naval exercises between India, the U.S. and Japan – is still being discussed.

 “Quad”- India, Australia, the U.S. and Japan – the countries will discuss a comprehensive set of issues, but the actual agenda is going to be kept “close-hold” among the countries, so there can be a more “frank and open” discussion of those issues.

The Quad partnership would cover defence, economic areas and, especially, COVID-19.

India has been reluctant to include Australia in the Malabar naval exercises, which include three of the four Quad members.

A militarisation of the Quad could be viewed by China as a strategy to contain it, not something India has wanted to do.

Is the Quad rising after China’s challenge at the LAC?

  • The agenda for the U.S.-India October 2+2 ministerial dialogue (defence and foreign affairs ministers of both countries) is currently being worked out and is expected to be “comprehensive, wide-ranging and strategic,”
  • It will include defence topics, diplomatic cooperation, and cooperation at multilateral forums, economic cooperation, space and technology and people to people cooperation.
  • Providing an overview of the ‘U.S. – India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership’ (the official framework for the relationship between the two countries), this relationship is, “one of the most important partnerships in the world.”

Support for India’s permanent UNSC Seat

  • India and other G4 countries (Brazil, Germany and Japan) declared that they were looking for text-based negotiations and results within specified time frames for U.N Security Council reform.
  • The U.S. has supported India’s quest for a permanent seat on the Security Council.
  • “The United States welcomes India joining the UN Security Council in 2021 for a two-year term, and supports a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member,”

Opposed to incursions

  • USA strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to advanced territorial claims by incursions (by military or civilian incursions) across the Indo-China border, or across the established line of actual control.”
  • The disputed boundaries: USA encourage India and China to use their existing bilateral channels to discuss those and not resort to military force.”