The highly anticipated Quad summit in Sydney may have been cancelled, but the navies of the United States, India, Australia, and Japan are set to participate in the advanced Malabar 2023 exercises. Taking place off the east coast of Australia from August 11 to 22, these exercises will emphasize interoperability, sea deterrence, and sea denial to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region. The event serves as a crucial platform for the top commanders of Quad navies to discuss and address the evolving security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

The Malabar exercises, which originated as an Indo-US bilateral endeavor in 1992, have evolved into a multinational initiative. Japan became a permanent partner in 2015, and Australia joined in 2020, completing the Quad alliance. With India’s logistics agreement with all three Quad partners, the Indian Navy will participate with its advanced destroyers, P 8 I anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and a submarine, showcasing the collective naval strength of the Quad nations.

One of the primary areas of focus in the Malabar 2023 exercises will be anti-submarine warfare operations. This comes at a time when the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) has become increasingly assertive in the Indo-Pacific, making territorial claims in the South China Sea. The PLA Navy’s rapid expansion of nuclear-powered conventional armed submarines and its strategic ambition to dominate the far Pacific necessitate a robust response to maintain regional stability and security.

The Malabar exercises underscore the Quad’s commitment to safeguarding Indo-Pacific security. With a focus on interoperability, the navies will work together to ensure freedom of navigation, promote stability, and counter any threats to maritime security. By actively addressing regional challenges, the Quad reinforces its shared commitment to upholding a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.