A strong message could be anticipated for China amid the Ladakh tension from India as the Quadrilateral grouping of US, Japan, India and Australia are sending their warships for the Malabar Exercise next month.

Quadrilateral grouping, which experts say is to be mirroring NATO, has already been criticized by China many times.

Another major development in direction of strengthening the ties, New Delhi and Washington are also stepping up efforts to conclude the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) ahead of the Indo-US 2+2 ministerial meeting on October 26-27.

Once operational, BECA will allow India to use US geospatial intelligence and enhance accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones.

On US President Donald Trump’s visit to India in February, Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for the early conclusion of BECA.

Yesterday, India announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar Exercise in November, making it the first military exercise between all countries of the Quadrilateral grouping.

Malabar had been a trilateral exercise involving the navies of US, India and Japan. With the participation of Australia, the exercise will be a joint one for the Quad group.

Malabar exercise includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres.

The last Malabar exercise was held in September off the coast of Japan, and included complex maritime operations in the surface, sub-surface and air domains, with focus on anti-submarine warfare, anti-air and anti-surface firings, maritime interdiction operations (MIO) including Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and tactical scenario-based exercises at sea.