US, India and Japan held the 22nd round of the annual Malabar Naval Exercise from June 7-16, 2018 off the coast of Guam. India declined Australia’s request to participate in the 2018 drill.
The exercise took place at a time when India has already stretched itself across the Indian Ocean. It is also acting as a partner in the “Indo-Pacific” strategy of the US to contain China in the region. The increasing trilateral presence is a result of the growing military presence of China, and which seeks to present a direct counter to the increasing influence of China in the maritime domain.