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2021 Malabar Exercise

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August 27, 2021

Why in news?

Navies of the 4 Quad member nations [India, the US, Japan, and Australia] are participating in the 25th edition of the Malabar Exercise -Malabar 21.

How has it been?

Malabar Exercise is a multilateral war-gaming naval exercise that includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres. Demonstrates the synergy, coordination and inter-operability among the participating navies.

  • Started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the navies of India and the US.
  • Break 1996 to 2002 in the aftermath of India’s nuclear tests.
  • Conducted every year thereafter.
  • Japan, Australia (and Singapore)- First participated in 2007.
  • In 2008, the government in Australia changed, and it stopped participating.[Singapore has participated only once.]
  • From 2014, Japan has been a regular participant; joined as a permanent member in 2015, making it a trilateral.
  • Australia re-joined in 2020, making its second appearance.

The Quad, officially the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a group of four countries: Australia, India, Japanand the US. Maritime cooperation began after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. But now,Quad works on a far broader agenda, which includes tackling security, economic, and health issues.It is a loose grouping rather than a formal alliance.

How will 2021 exercise be?

  • Hosted by the US Navy in the Western Pacific - In Guam, an unincorporated territory of the US.

Under US law, unincorporated territory is an area controlled by the U.S. federal government that is not "incorporated" for the purposes of US constitutional law.

  • Includes complex exercises - anti-surface, anti-air, and anti-submarine warfare drills, and other manoeuvres and tactical exercises.

Why is the Malabar exercise significant?

  • It was for the possibility of angering China that India had not expanded Malabar exercise.
  • Australia also had pulled out for the same reason after 2007.
  • But now, China’s relations are strained with all four nations of the Quad with China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The military standoff with India in eastern Ladakhfor more than 15 months is another factor.
  • So, as a grouping of four powerful navies in the Indo-Pacific region, the Quad and the ex-Malabar sends a strong message -
    1. Commitment to peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in this region
    2. Upholding the rules-based international order
    3. Respecting the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the international seas
    4. Upholding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states
    5. Promoting a shared vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.


Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

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