Australia is set to join India, the United States and Japan for the upcoming Malabar naval exercise. The mega drill by the ‘Quad’ or Quadrilateral coalition is likely to take place in November in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

“As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the navies of the participating countries,” the ministry said.

The exercise comes in the midst of heightened tension between India and China over the border row along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. 

Started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian Navy and the US Navy in the Indian Ocean, Japan joined the group as a permanent member in 2015.

For the last few years, Australia has been showing keen interest in joining the exercise.

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