Issue Brief on “Growing Indian Interest in Malabar Naval Exercise”

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Malabar-I, the first naval exercise between US and India was held in 1992 as part of a joint training in basic sea-based operations. The exercises were discontinued in 1998 following the nuclear tests by India and were resumed again in 2002. The exercise has been an annual feature between US and India since that year and later joined by Japan in 2015.[1]  Australia by following the trajectory of the US, India and Japan also joined the exercise in 2007.

The Malabar exercise entails various naval operations including combat maneuvers and simulated war games.[2] Interestingly, all four countries of Malabar exercise are also members of the Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue that recently held a meeting on October 6, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The Quad members through Malabar exercise apparently want to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Quad members perceive China as a threat to freedom of navigation, rule of law, sovereignty, respect for territorial integrity, free trade markets and peaceful dispute resolution.[3]

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