India, Japan, US, Australia hold first Malabar naval exercise off Australia

India, Japan, the United States and Australia will enforce the Malabar navy exercise down the shore of Sydney on Friday, the first time the war games formerly enforced in the Indian Ocean will happen in Australia. Japanese and Indian navy vessels halted in Pacific island nations Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea on the way to Sydney, showering light on the strategic requirement of the place at a time of friction between China and the US.

Vice-Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, revealed at a news conference on Thursday in Sydney that the exercise was “not directed towards any particular nation” and would polish the capacity of the four forces to work with one another. “The deterrence that our four countries provide as we work  in a collaborative way as a Quad has proven to be a base for all the other countries operating in this place” Vice-Adm Thomas said.

“Oceania, the island countries that are just north-east of Australia… all of our countries now are concentrating on those nations,” he added. The Indian Navy’s Vice-Adm Dinesh Tripathi said there have been huge transformations in the world since the US and India held the first Malabar exercise in 1992 at the end of the Cold War. When Australia took part for the first time in 2007, it “sent some gestures around the world”, he said.

Australia quitted from the so-called Quad in 2008 after protests from China over its taking part in Malabar. The Quad was brought to life and Australia rejoined Malabar in 2020, although China goes on to be critical for the grouping as an effort to get it. “The Pacific is extremely necessary to us,” said the Australian fleet commander, Rear-Admiral Christopher Smith. “We know people have ambition to go on to develop and… but it’s about transparency,” he added. Ships from the four countries will be joined by Australian F-35 fighter jets, P-8 surveillance aircraft and submarines.