Following an invitation from India, Australia will participate in Exercise Malabar 2020 with India, the United States and Japan in November 2020.
FILE PHOTO (2007): Exercise Malabar 2007 action in the north-west Indian Ocean as seen from HMAS Adelaide. Photographer unknown.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Exercise Malabar 2020 marked a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force.
“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,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Exercise Malabar also showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne 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.
“It will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region.
“Participation in Exercise Malabar will demonstrate Australia’s enduring commitment to enhancing regional security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increase the capability and interoperability of the ADF.”
Exercise Malabar is an annual trilateral naval exercise involving the US, Japan and India.
Australia last participated in Exercise Malabar in 2007.
This year’s exercise is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, as a no-contact, at-sea-only exercise because of COVID-19.
Other iterations of the exercise have been held in the Indian Ocean, off Japan and off Guam.
Minister Reynolds did not say which Australian fleet units would be despatched for the exercise.