Govt. mulls Australia’s entry into Malabar drill.
#GS2 #International Relations
Why in News?
A key meeting of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday discussed the issue of inviting Australia for the trilateral Malabar naval exercise with Japan and the United States.
What is the issue?
- There is increasing consensus at the official level that Australia should join the naval war games
- The final decision has been delayed in view of the ongoing standoff with China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it is learnt
- Japan and the U.S. have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar.
- The decision, if taken, will bring all Quad countries together as part of the annual war games and also mark a major shift for India’s Indo-Pacific plans.
- Malabar began as a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992 and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.
- This exercise includes a diverse range of activities such as fighter combat operations and maritime interdiction operations.
- The exercise was initially held in the Indian Ocean. In 2007, it was held in the Bay of Bengal for the first time.
- Australia first requested for observer status in the trilateral exercise in April 2017. While New Delhi was reluctant to accept Canberra’s request, the bilateral cooperation has gone up significantly over the years.
- Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
- The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
- In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
- In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending "Quad" Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
- India and Australia had signed the longpending Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA) which elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
- The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.
- This cooperation includes the Australia-India Framework for Security Cooperation
- regular dialogues involving Ministers responsible for foreign, defence and trade policy
- a broad range of senior officials meetings, such as the Defence Policy Talks, Australia-India Maritime Dialogue and Navy to Navy Staff Talks.
Source: The Hindu