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The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Quad nations

Context:

The US recently said that the scope of the multi-nation Malabar exercise in terms of more like-minded navies taking part in the drills could expand in future. And it was for the Quad partners to discuss the possibility of an expansion.

 

Background:

India, the US, Japan and Australia have kicked off the second phase of this year’s Malabar naval drills in the Bay of Bengal, with the exercise seeking to build on the synergy and interoperability developed during the first phase held in August.

 

Overview of Malabar:

Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.

 

What is Quad grouping?

  • The quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

 

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

 

Why is China concerned about these developments?

  1. Beijing has long opposed a coalition of democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.
  2. It sees the maritime Quadrilateral as an Asian-NATO that seeks only to contain China’s rise.
  3. Also, at a time of strained bilateral ties with China, India’s intention to involve Australia in the Malabar drill could only be construed as a move directed against Beijing.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard of RIC Grouping? What are its objectives? Read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- formation and members.
  2. Malabar exercise- formation and participants.
  3. Asia Pacific region vs Indo- Pacific region: Overview of geography.
  4. Important islands in South China Sea.
  5. Islands in Indian Ocean Region and related facts like 6 degree channel etc.

Mains Link:

Discuss why expansion of Malabar Exercise to include Australia is important for India.

Sources: the Hindu.