New defence ties in the Indian Ocean region are rolling out on a regular basis – the latest one reports Australia will join three-way Malabar naval exercises – involving the United States, Japan and India.
Australia left the program after participating in 2007 – leaving following some strong criticism from China.
The move back by Australia shows how much regional attitudes to China have changed.
This new move could raise concerns in China, which has criticised similar joint drills as “destabilising”. China has been slamming import restrictions on Australian cola, cotton, wine and other products.
In contrast to declining relations with China, Australian PM Morrison and Indian PM Modi are working closely together.
India took the initiative of inviting Australia back in a sign of cooperation between the “Quad” countries.
The Malabar exercises are held in the Bay of Bengal.
The joint drills are super significant because they are the first concrete action of the Quad grouping.
China has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development.
India’s decision on expanding the exercises comes at a time when it is locked in a military stand-off on the disputed land border with China.