India has invited Australia to participate in the annual naval exercise for the second time in a bid to strengthen regional collaboration, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has revealed.
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The Australian Defence Force has been invited to participate in Exercise Malabar 2020, joining regional defence partners India, the US and Japan.
The annual naval exercise, which will take place next month, is designed to strengthen collaboration in the Indo-Pacific, in a bid to enhance security, stability and prosperity in the region.
“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,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.
“Exercise Malabar also showcases the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne said the exercise would build on Australia’s deepening relationship with India, underpinned by the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, to which Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed on 4 June 2020.
“It will bolster the ability of India, Australia, Japan and the United States to work together to uphold peace and stability across our region,” Minister Payne added.
Exercise Malabar originally launched in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the US, with Japan becoming a permanent partner in 2015.
Next month’s deployment is set to mark the 24th edition of the annual exercise, with Australia participating as a non-permanent partner for the second time, after joining alongside Singapore in 2007.