Strategic Analysis of Exercise Malabar-2020 with reference to the Quad

Key Points:

  • India believes that an expanded Malabar presents the emergence of a structured maritime coalition in the Indo-Pacific, amounting to a growing defence maritime architecture with reference to China.
  • Malabar exercises evolved from being routine drills in the Western Indian Ocean to a multi-faceted series of exercises held in the “Indo-Pacific”. The shift in geographic posturing was a signal to China.
  • Synchronicity among political leaders of Quad countries continued to face challenges primarily the obstacles to Indo-Australian strategic cooperation seemed “insurmountable”.
  • Quad countries have held drills in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) only and not collectively in the Western Pacific Ocean yet.
  • The second edition of Malabar-2007 and the recent exercise are a long shot away from the basic synergy in the IOR.
  • Though Malabar-2020 is touted as Quad’s revival and a show-of-force against China, the actual determinant is the support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has become wary of the United States-China rivalry and would prefer a change in existing American policies toward the region.


Zaki Khalid

Zaki Khalid is a strategic analyst and freelance commentator based in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. His areas of interest include national security, geopolitics, cyberspace and maritime affairs. He is also the founder and editor of 'Pakistan Geostrategic Review (PGR)', an independent platform publishing a premium newsletter and podcasts on geostrategic developments. He can be reached on Twitter @misterzedpk.

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