India has announced that it has invited the Royal Australian Navy back as a full participant to this year’s MALABAR naval exercise, the first time that the RAN will be participating since 2007.
It will join the US and Japan at this year’s exercise which is hosted by India and will take place in November.
“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 Indian defence ministry said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Australian Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said, “High-end military exercises like MALABAR are key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities, building interoperability with our close partners, and demonstrating our collective resolve to support an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Exercise MALABAR also showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.
“This builds on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to which Prime Minister Morrison and Prime Minister Modi agreed on 4 June 2020, and which I progressed with my counterpart, Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar, this month when we met in Tokyo,” she added. “It will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region.”
It is not clear which RAN ships will be involved, although the ABC has reported that the air warfare destroyers HMAS Hobart or Brisbane could participate.