India invites Australian Navy to join Malabar drill
New Delhi : In a major snub to China, India had invited Australian naval to take part in the Malabar exercises that will take place in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea in November, said Ministry of Defence on Monday.
The official statement said, "As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy"
The four squads which will be taking part in Malabar drill will be United States, India, Japan and Australia.
The exercise will be ‘non-contact - at sea’ format and will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries, the Indian defence ministry release said.
In 2018, the exercise took place off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea and in 2019 off the coast of Japan.
The Indian defence ministry said, "Participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain."
They added, "They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules-based international order."
The move will jolt China as it will be seen as a message on how four nations are coming together and can stand in the time of crisis for each other.