04 OCTOBER 2020


The Malabar Military Exercises, the trilateral naval exercises between India, the US and Japan will be held in the Bay of Bengal during November this year. Discussions were progressing whether the other partner of the Quad members, Australia may be allowed to join in the exercises to be conducted next month. India has been reluctant to include Australia in the Malabar naval exercises as the militarisation of the Quad could vitiate the very purpose of strengthening the membership.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), also known as Quad is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India established during 2007-2008 period by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh, Vice President Dick Cheney of the US and Prime Minister John Howard of Australia. The diplomatic dialogue was viewed against the increased Chinese economic and military power. China also responded to the Quad members by issuing many diplomatic protests. Later in 2008, Australia withdrew from the Quad after the change of political leadership in that country. Also the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China in 2008 created an apprehension, however India, Japan and US continue to hold joint naval exercises  as permanent partners.

The first naval exercises, Malabar -1 between India and the United States was held in 1992 and only three exercises were held before 1998.

However, the exercises included diverse activities ranging from fighter combat operations and maritime interdiction operations.

During the ASEAN Summits in 2017, all former members of the Quad negotiated to revive the quadrilateral alliance. Prime Minister of India  Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull agreed in Manila to revive the security alliance.

Initially it was the Japan Prime Minister Abe’s idea to convene like- minded democratic nations to come together to form into a quadrilateral partnership to counter China. In recent months India’s relationship with China has deteriorated greatly although there is a five point agreement to end the military standoff.

Meanwhile, in the coming days External Affairs Minister S. Jayashankar will be attending the Quad meeting in Tokyo.

 Cyber security, cooperation on 5G connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, supply chain initiative for manufacturing, maritime cooperation and distribution plans for the Covid-19 vaccine are the areas of discussions in the meeting.

 As trade tensions between China and the US are deepening, Japan has already mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade, with India and Australia. During the Covid-19 pandemic it has been realised that the dependence on a single nation is not good for national and global economies.

India has also refused to be in the ASEAN led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The Quad partnership has very much benefitted the world during the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

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