The participation of Australia means that all four members of the so-called Quad will be participating in the exercises for the first time since 2007.
While not a formal military alliance like NATO, it is seen by some as a potential counterweight to growing Chinese influence and alleged aggression in Asia-Pacific. The collation has been denounced by Beijing as an anti-China bloc.
The Australian and Indian defense ministries announced the expansion of the drills, which had been long-speculated, late Monday.
Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said the Malabar exercises were key to enhancing Australia’s maritime capabilities, and showcased the “deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.”
Australia’s previous participation in the drills in 2007 sparked diplomatic protests from China. Relations between China and Australia have since deteriorated, however, with the two countries locked in a series of long-running trade disputes.
In a statement Monday, India’s Defense Ministry said the four participants “collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order.”
The exercises will begin in November in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea, India said.
Malabar began as a bilateral exercise between India and the US. Japan became a permanent Malabar member in 2015.
Previous exercises have taken place in the Indian Ocean as well as off the coast of Japan a year ago, and around the US Pacific territory of Guam and in the Philippine Sea in 2018.
CNN’s James Griffiths contributed reporting.