In a clear message to China, India has planned to invite Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercise.
This is for the first time, India has invited Australia to join the exercise. India earlier included Japan and the U.S in the naval exercise.
The decision to include Australia in the drills comes as Beijing and New Delhi are caught up in their worst border tensions in four decades, Economic Times reported.
The exercise will bring together the navies of India, Japan, Australia and the U.S. in the Bay of Bengal at the end of the year, the newspapers quoted a senior Indian official, who asked not to be identified.
New Delhi is expected to clear the way next week for a formal invitation to Australia following final government clearance and consultations with the U.S. and Japan, the official said.
“The timing of India potentially letting Australia into Malabar would be especially significant at this juncture,” said Derek Grossman, researcher at the Washington-based RAND Corporation.