With China in mind, France, Australia and India will strengthen security cooperation

New Delhi: France and Australia have decided to strengthen security and strategic cooperation with India in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean (IOR) region in what is seen as an important and effective three-nation strategy to face the challenges resulting from China’s aggressive agenda. . On the sidelines of the G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Bali, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and his French counterpart, Catherina Colonna, held bilateral talks during which this issue was raised, The Sunday Guardian from senior diplomatic sources. present in the Indonesian city.
“Jaishankar and the French foreign minister focused on various aspects of bilateral relations as well as ways to deal with major global challenges in the face of geopolitical unrest,” the sources said. The global challenges the two ministers discussed also included China’s challenge in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, the sources added.
Senior sources told the Sunday Guardian that ministers stressed the need for enhanced security and strategic cooperation to address challenges in the regions. While Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and French President Emmanuel Macron have already given their agreement to intensify cooperation with India in the IOR and the Indo-Pacific in the revival of the trilateral, the foreign ministers have discussed ways to go about it, sources said.
There will be more high-level meetings at the level of defense and foreign policy officials in the near future to finalize modalities on how to increase joint presence in the Indo-Pacific, sources said. Macron and Albanese agreed to mend ties and leave differences behind on AUKUS in what works to India’s advantage in the face of China’s growing challenges in the Indo-Pacific.
Needless to say, France and Australia are India’s key partners in the Indo-Pacific region. “If the France-Australia-India trilateral is revived, which is a possibility now, it will be of great help to India in the IOR amid concerns over China’s aggressive agenda,” they said. officials said. The Australian Prime Minister’s recent visit to Paris paved the way for him. EAM and its French counterpart also discussed it to clear the way, the officials added. In fact, the trilateral had been put on hold after Australia’s decision to abandon the submarine deal and launch AUKUS to acquire nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the United States and from the United Kingdom. Paris would have been upset by the development. India was also watching developments closely when Albanese traveled to France to meet Macron. The Australian Prime Minister had welcomed what he described as a “new start” in relations with France.
“Australia and France will shape a new defense relationship and enhance our collaboration and exchanges on shared security interests, including through operational engagement and intelligence sharing.” This was said in the joint statement issued following talks between Australian and French leaders. “We are determined to be active in regional forums and to strengthen security cooperation with countries in the Pacific, in particular on maritime surveillance with regional agencies, and in the Indian Ocean, including in partnership with the ‘India.”
It was a welcome development for India, which was waiting for the two countries to come forward and join forces in New Delhi to boost cooperation in the Indian Ocean. Sources said the French FM shared with EAM the views expressed in the joint statement.
France and Australia will support each other in their deployments and conduct more joint maritime activities in support of the rules-based global order, which marks their intense strategic cooperation with India in the ocean region.
Sources say the stage is now set for India to resume its trilateral dialogue with the two nations. The focus will be on maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, where China has flexed its muscles by violating all international laws and ignoring world order protocols.
S. Jaishankar and his Australian and French counterparts held the first trilateral dialogue in May 2012. Afterwards, they pledged to work together to achieve a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific. But the second round of talks between ministers could not take place as relations between Australia and France collapsed. With the ties between Canberra and Paris on track, India has reason to be happy as the trilateral will be functional again and the joint strategic cooperation between the three countries will be good for New Delhi’s plan to counter China.

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