Australia will connect to the United States, Japan, and India in the upcoming month’s Malabar naval practices in the Indian Ocean, the activity which is expected to boost up the military connection among the four democracies due to tight tensions with China.
Australia will join India, the US and Japan in next month’s Malabar naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, in a move that is expected to strengthen the military relationship between the four democracies amid increased tensions with China. https://t.co/Qlvz3OUe3q
— CNN International (@cnni) October 20, 2020
The activity conducted every year since 1992, the exercises have expanded in size and complexity in the previous few years to address what the United States Navy has earlier described as a various threat shared to naval security in the Indo Asia Pacific.
Australia’s contribution means that all 4 allies of the so-called Quad will be contributing and participating in the naval exercises after a long time since 2007. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (The Quad) is a casual strategic forum for Australia, Japan, India, and the United States, including some regular conferences and information exchanges among these 4 countries.
The Quad isn’t a formal military alliance
Although it is not an official or formal military association such as NATO, it is realized by some as a potential counterweight to ramp up Chinese influence and accused aggression in the Asia Pacific. The activity has been criticized by China as an anti-China bloc.
Late Monday, the Indian and Australian defense ministries declared the development of the drills, which had been extensively speculated.
Linda Reynolds, Defense Minister of Australia, said that the Malabar drills were key to boost the maritime capabilities of Australia and depicted the deep trust among 4 primary Indo Pacific democracies, and they will operate together on common security interests.
The previous participation of Australia in the exercises in 2007 ignited diplomatic protests from China. Moreover, relations between Australia and China have since worsened, with the 2 countries stuck in a bunch of long-running trade clashes.
Each member of the Quad has a clash with Beijing
Not just Australia but other allies of the Quad have also faced tensions with China that emerged in recent months. Chinese and Indian troops disputed on the Line of Actual Control (a border between two nations in the Himalayas) in June.
China and Japan also have a clash over the Senkaku Islands, known as Diaoyus, where China has ramped up the presence of its coast guard vessels. At the same time, the United States has enhanced the tempo of its air and naval mission in the South China Sea, and pushing back China’s claims to the huge waterway.