India to perform naval exercises in the Indo-Pacific alongside France and Australia

New Delhi: Last week, India had initiated movements to include France in the leading QUAD in the Indo-Pacific region. Now, as per the recent news, France may participate in the joint naval exercises in the Indo-Pacific region with Australia and India. Moreover, it is being claimed that China will increase its movements in the Indian Ocean in the times to come. Against this background, India performing naval exercises in the Indo-Pacific region with France and Australia can cause worry for China.    

A week ago, the foreign secretaries of India, France and Australia held an important tripartite meeting. In the meeting, officials of the three nations agreed on increasing the Indo-Pacific regional cooperation to face the strategic challenges. This also included the maritime cooperation by the Marine Global Commons. Moreover, 24 hours after this meeting, French Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, paid a visit to India. Minister Parly visited India against the background of Rafale planes being included in the air force.    

In the meeting, the French Minister of Armed Forces and Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh discussed tripartite naval exercises as well. Moreover, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said in a press interview that French Minister Parly met Indian NSA Ajit Doval and spoke with him over Indian Ocean security, challenges and cooperation. Over the last few years, India has established independent defence cooperation with Australia and France; this has allowed the war exercises to happen. All the more, warships of both the nations participate at large in the India-France aero-naval exercise. Last year, the French aircraft carrier warships and Rafale planes had been part of the practice.   

Now, as these exercises are becoming extensive, France demands to include Australia as well. Moreover, it is claimed that India approves of this exercise as well. Apart from this, the United States insists that Australia must be included in the Indo-Pacific QUAD. Furthermore, India is willing to have Australia in QUAD and announce this decision by next month. 

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