Explained: The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations, and why it matters to India

Source: Indian Express

Relevance: To understand Malabar exercise

Synopsis: Malabar exercise, which now involves all navies of QUAD countries, is the centrepiece of the emerging security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region.


Navies of the four-member nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue(Quad) — India, USA, Japan, and Australia — are participating in the 25th edition of the Malabar Exercise. The 25th edition began off the coast of Guam in the Pacific Ocean on August 26.

Read moreQuad Summit and its relevance – Explained, Pointwise

What is Malabar Exercise and how it has evolved

  • It is a multilateral war-gaming naval exercise that started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the USA.
  • After successful editions in 1995 & 1996, there was a break until 2002 in the aftermath of India’s nuclear tests.
  • It has been conducted every year after 2002
  • Japan and Australia first participated in 2007, and since 2014, India, the US and Japan have participated in the exercise every year.
  • Japan joined in 2015 as a permanent member, and Malabar became a trilateral exercise.
  • In 2020, for the first time in over a decade, Australia joined the exercise and all QUAD navies were seen together in action.

What does Malabar exercise include?

  • It includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres.
  • It includes complex exercises including anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills.
  • These combat drills will enhance synergy and mutual understanding among the four navies.

Why did Australia return and what is the significance of the Malabar exercise

  • Australia had first participated in 2007, however, in 2008 government in Australia changes, and it stopped participating after that.
  • Now, the assertive rise of China is acting unifying cause for the region.
  • Australia remarked that Malabar exercises will help in upholding the rules-based international order and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Experts view that the Malabar exercise will strengthen QUAD, which will act as an instrument of deterrence against China.

India’s other naval exercises with QUAD countries

Indian Navy conducted a number of Passage Exercises (PASSEX) with the navies of Japan, Australia, and the US. These are basic exercises to increase operability between the navies.

Way Forward

Malabar exercise adds the military dimension to QUAD. Though QUAD will not emerge as an alliance like NATO, but moves like Malabar exercises will create sufficient deterrence.

Terms to know

Print Friendly and PDF