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Explained: The purpose, participants of the Malabar Navy Exercise

4th November, 2020 International News

Context: Phase 1 of the Malabar Naval Exercise kicks off with participation of Australian navy for the first time since 2007.

What is Malabar Exercise?

  • It is a multilateral naval exercise that includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres.
  • It started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian and US navies. Japan joined in 2015.
  • This year’s Malabar Exercise has been planned on a “non-contact-at sea” format keeping Covid-19 protocols in mind.

What is the difference this year?

  • For the first time in over a decade, the exercise will see the participation of all four Quad countries.
  • This will be the second time Australia will participate. It participated first in 2007, later stopped participating.

Why is Australia’s participation important?

  • Following the 2+2 dialogue with the US, considering upholding the rules-based international order, respecting the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the international seas and upholding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states essential Australia was welcomed to join the forthcoming Malabar Exercise.”
  • Participation of four large navies from the Indo-Pacific region will send a message to China. It was the possibility of riling up China that had prevented India from expanding the Malabar Exercise, and from Australia joining it
  • It will ensure, that the Indian Ocean Region and all other oceans around there is complete freedom of navigation, without fear of any other nation singularly trying to dominate the oceans.

Does India conduct any other naval exercises with these countries?

  • Over the last few months, the Indian Navy has conducted a number of Passage Exercises (PASSEX) with navies from Japan, Australia and the US.
  • But those were basic exercises to increase operability between the navies, while Malabar involves simulated war games.