March 1, 2021
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Renewed approach
Multilateral Malabar naval exercise The Malabar-2015 has created fresh ripples in the already rough sea of the Indian Ocean. After a gap of eight years, India will be hosting another multilateral naval exercise of three nations with USA and Japan. All the members of the original five nation multilateral naval engagement held in the Bay of Bengal in September 2007, developed cold feet after China issued diplomatic demarche to all the five nations asking them if they are ganging up against China. Eight years later India gathered enough courage to ignore Chinese sensitivities and organized the three nation multilateral joint exercise and separately along with bilateral maritime exercises with Australia and Singapore who were part of the 2007 multilateral exercise. The strategic observers will now deliberate on the evolving construct in the Asia Pacific region. India initially hesitated to convert the Malabar exercise to be held in the Indian Ocean on the Eastern Seaboard, into a multilateral one. But with hardening attitude of the Chinese towards India, perhaps encouraged India to send a signal to the Chinese that if they are not ready to take note of India’s concern India will be free to march on the road on which the US led Western alliance waited for India to join. The Malabar initially began in the aftermath of the end of Cold War after the dissolution of Soviet Union in the year 1992 and continued on bilateral basis till 1997. But the US unilaterally
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