Show Of Force Against China In Indian Ocean: India To Hold Naval Exercises With US, Japan, Australia, France And UAE
These two naval exercises, experts say, are aimed at sending a message to China at a time when Beijing has been behaving aggressively.
In a major show of force in the Indian Ocean, where China has been increasing its presence and engagements, India will hold naval exercises with the United States, Japan, Australia, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In early April, France will join India and its Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) partners Japan, Australia and the United States for a major naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal. Although the dates of the naval drill have not been firmed up on paper, it is likely to take place between April 4 and 7.
Later that month, most likely between April 25 and 27, the UAE will join India and France for the Varuna naval exercise. The trilateral naval drill will take place in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
These two naval exercises, experts say, are aimed at sending a message to China at a time when Beijing has been behaving aggressively across the board, from the Himalayan frontier in Ladakh, where its forces have clashed with India, to the South China Sea, where it has been bullying Taiwan with threats of use of force and sending its naval vessels into Japan’s territorial waters.
While the naval exercises take place in the Indian Ocean in April, the Narendra Modi government will be engaging with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who will be in Delhi.
Eight Rafale fighters of the French Air Force will leave for India between 19 April and 23 April, the Hindustan Times report says, adding that the Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria will visit France.
France, which has territories and military bases in the Indian Ocean, is likely to send its aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle for the exercise. While the Indian aircraft carrier is undergoing maintenance, P-8I anti-submarine aircraft, submarines, Kolkata-class destroyers and other warships are likely to participate in the exercises with QUAD partners and France.
In January this year, India and French air forces held Desert Knight 2021 in Jodhpur. While the Indian Air Force participated with its Rafale, Su-30 MKI and Mirage-2000 fighters and refuelling and early warning aircraft, the French Air Force brought its Rafale fighters and Tanker and Transport aircraft.
India and France are also participating in a multinational air exercise hosted by the UAE. The exercise, in which 10 countries are participating, started on 3 March and will continue until 21 March.
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