Foreign Ministers Of India, France And Australia To Meet In Delhi On 13 April; Naval Exercise In Bay Of Bengal To Begin On 4 April
China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour has pushed the Quad to take a tough stand, signalled by the first leadership-level summit in March.
On 13 April, foreign ministers of India, Australia and France will meet in New Delhi for a trilateral dialogue, a report in the Hindustan Times says.
The dialogue, which comes just weeks after the leadership-level meeting of the Quad, will focus on issues like maritime security and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific amid China’s increasing presence in the region.
Like India and Australia, France has stakes in the Indo-Pacific — it has multiple overseas territories in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and, consequently, maintains a significant military presence in this region.
France’s overseas territories include the Mayotte and Réunion Islands in the western Indian Ocean, the region where India is building a military base of its own. Its territories in the Pacific include Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia.
India has signed logistics exchange agreements with both France and Australia for access to their military bases. The Indian Navy regularly holds exercises with the French and Australian navies to improve interoperability.
Last year, India and France conducted a joint patrol from the Reunion Island using an Indian Navy P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Ahead of the trilateral meeting, India will participate in the La Pérouse naval exercise organised by France. Australia, US and Japan will also take part in the exercise, which will begin in the Bay of Bengal on 4 April and end on 7 April.
The meeting in New Delhi will take place on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Australian foreign minister Marise Payne are among 10 foreign ministers who will visit India for the dialogue.
The dialogue comes at a time when China is locked in a military standoff with India in the Himalayas, has bullied Japan in the the East China Sea, tried to coerce Australia economically and diplomatically after it demanded an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 and angered Europe with sanctions against European officials.
China’s increasingly aggressive behaviour has pushed the Quad to take a tough stand, signalled by the first leadership-level summit in March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden took part in the virtual meeting.
Just days after the meeting, US Secretary of Defense General (Retd.) Lloyd Austin visited Delhi and Tokyo to discuss security issues.
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