Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds on Tuesday said that India and Australia were natural partners in the India Pacific region and the Malabar naval exercise was a demonstration of the depth of trust and cooperation between the defence organisations of the countries.
She said that the need to cooperate with regional defence partners on shared challenges was stronger than ever.
“India and Australia are natural partners in the Indo-Pacific, and Exercise Malabar is a clear demonstration of the depth of trust and cooperation between our defence organisations,” said Reynolds, according to a press release.
“Participation in sophisticated exercises like Malabar not only highlights the strategic trust between the members but also strengthens our collective ability to contribute to regional security,” she said.
“Exercise Malabar is an important opportunity to work in concert with like-minded nations to support a secure, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” Reynolds added.
The 24th edition of the Malabar naval exercise, scheduled in two phases between the Quad nations – India, US, Japan and Australia, commenced in Vishakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday.
This is the first time Australia has joined Malabar since its introduction in 1992.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN ship HMAS Ballarat participated in the exercise alongside Indian Navy (IN ships Shivalik, Shakti, Sukanya, and submarine Sindhuraj, along with United States Navy (USN ship USS John S McCain, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF ship JS Onami.