India, Australia, Japan and the United States, which are members of the Quad, are conducting military exercises in the Bay of Bengal to increase Indo-Pacific maritime security. But it will be led by France, an ally of the United States. This is the first time India has joined the La Peroz exercise. Earlier in 2019, the exercise was held under this name without India. This news was given by The Nikkei Asia. Myanmar’s military junta is apparently worried about the incident. The country announced on the same day that it would conduct military exercises.
The three-day French-led exercise began on Monday, the report said.
The French Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement on Wednesday that the exercise was an opportunity to strengthen the five-pronged, high-level naval ties, enhance their capabilities and enhance maritime cooperation in the free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The announcement comes after the first joint conference of The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), an informal strategic forum between Australia, India, Japan and the United States, on March 12. The conference was held during US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s visit to Asia. The exercise is being hailed as an important moment in Asia’s geopolitical arena. Earlier, four quad members conducted Malabar military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region last November. Cooperation between the two countries is expected to reach new heights as France joins them.
NC Bipindra, a defense and strategy analyst and editor of the media defense, said the joint exercise of the quad countries was important for everyone to keep an eye on the region. Of course, China is one of those observers. In recent times, the country has increased its influence in the Indo-Pacific region through aggressive military operations. They will keep an eye on what is happening near the house.
Meanwhile, quad countries and France have been discussing free movement in the Indo-Pacific region in various forums over China’s illegal claims in the South China Sea.
Bipindra said it was normal to see the La Peroz exercise as a naval exercise in those five countries for military interaction in the region in times of crisis. The move is an indication of what the geological dynamics of the region will look like. In addition, Quad countries have begun the process of joining hands with democracies that have interests in the region. It is already being heard that the Quad is emerging as an Asian NATO.
Isabel Saint-Mayzard, an assistant researcher at the French Institute of International Relations, said the exercise indicated that France was willing to form a harmonious and transformative alliance. They want to establish maritime law, freedom of movement, peaceful resolution of conflicts and, above all, law-based multilateral discipline.
Pankaj Jha, former director of the Indian National Security Council and professor of defense and strategy at OP Jindal Global University, said the main goal of the exercise was to establish relations on two issues: a tripartite alliance between France, Australia and India and an alliance of quad countries and France.
He said France knew that China had taken several steps to extract minerals and other resources in the region’s seas, especially in the French part of the Indian Ocean. France wants to take individual and joint action against these measures.
Wei Dongshu, a Beijing-based military analyst, described the five-nation military exercise as a “campaign strategy” in an opinion column published in the Global Times last month, known as the spokesman for the Communist Party of China. He also called the Quad an organization formed to pursue the temporary interests of its member countries.
Wei also wrote that the military actions of the quad are definitely aimed at China. “What China needs to do now is increase its military capabilities and increase its combat capability in the maritime region,” he wrote. At the same time, it must prove to the world that a strong Chinese navy will safeguard global peace and stability.