(This story originally appeared in on Mar 15, 2021).
India is now progressively cranking up its naval exercises with the “Quad” countries and other essential strategic allies, even as United States secretary of defence Lloyd Austin on Saturday began his very first trip to Asia to reinforce military cooperation and guarantee “reliable deterrence” against China Austin’s see to New Delhi from March 19 to 21, after touring Japan and South Korea with secretary of state Antony Blinken, will come amidst the continuing military conflict between India and China at the staying friction points in eastern Ladakh in spite of troop disengagement occurring on both sides of Pangong Tso last month.The focus of his talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh will be on additional enhancing the robust bilateral defence relationship in addition to making sure “a free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific area, with an eye firmly on an aggressive and expansionist China, as was earlier reported by TOI.Speaking at the United States Indo-Pacific Command at Hawaii on Saturday, Austin said he was taking a trip to Japan, South Korea and India to enhance “alliances and collaborations” in addition to foster “trustworthy deterrence” versus China. South Korean defence minister Suh Wook, by the way, is also slated to visit India later on this month.With India, US, Japan and Australia explaining their intent to hinder any “browbeating” in the Indo-Pacific during their leaders’ Quad summit on Friday, their navies will sign up with France for its “La Pérouse” exercise in the Bay of Bengal from April 4 to 7.
India will deploy its frontline warships and P-8I maritime patrol airplane from the Eastern Naval Command at Vizag for this Quad-plus-France workout. “France has initiated this workout of similar countries with strategic congruence over the Indo-Pacific,” said an authorities.
Then, the bilateral “Varuna” marine workout between India and France will be expanded to include UAE in the northwest Arabian Sea near the strategically-located Persian Gulf from April 25 to 27. France will deploy its nuclear-powered warship FNS Charles de Gaulle with its Rafale-M marine jets for the exercise.” India accords great importance to the Varuna exercise with France, an essential tactical partner with whom military interoperability and sharing of maritime intelligence has been enhanced throughout the years,” stated the official.France, Germany, UK and some other nations are all eager to work together with the Quad nations, which had likewise conducted the 24edition of the first-class’ Malabar ‘marine workout in November, to keep the Indo-Pacific secure in face of China’s belligerence.India, by the way, has also inked reciprocal military logistics pacts with the other three Quad nations in addition to France, South Korea and Singapore to boost its tactical reach in the whole Indian Ocean area and beyond.