After India and Japan signed a key military logistics pact, another similar deal with France and Australia appears to be in the works. These intercontinental military pacts have a common goal: to combat the growing threat from China.
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Although none of the treaties explicitly mention a particular country, leaders spoke of growing challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and China’s growing assertiveness.
After years of negotiations between India and Japan, they finally signed a landmark agreement that will allow the two countries to use each other’s maritime bases and facilities for repair and resupply of supplies in addition to facilitating intensification of global cooperation.
In the context of the growing aggression of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh and the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the acquisition and cross-services pact was signed by Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar and Japanese Ambassador Suzuki Satoshi, a spokesperson for India’s Defense Ministry said.
Japan has consistently supported India and criticized China’s “unilateral move” to change the status quo in Ladakh.
“The agreement is expected to facilitate the swift and smooth delivery of supplies and services between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Indian Armed Forces,” a statement from the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
It is important to note that similar agreements have been signed with the Quadruple Nations, Australia and the United States. After Japan, a France-Australia-India agreement could also join the list.
French President Emmanuel Macron previously spoke about building a strategic alliance against China’s assertion between Canberra, Paris and New Delhi.
“We are not naive: if we want to be seen and respected by China as an equal partner, we have to organize,” Macron said in a speech at an Australian naval base. This new Paris-Delhi-Canberra axis is absolutely essential for the region and our common goals in the India-Pacific region, ”he said, according to a 2018 report from Reuters.
Cooperation among Quad members is gaining strategic weight: With the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement with Japan, India now has such agreements with all Quad members to boost defense activities and military interoperability. My recent article: https://t.co/P3WAEpp5Ad
– Brahma Chellaney (@Chellaney) September 10, 2020
This Paris-Delhi-Canberra received a boost on Wednesday when senior officials from the foreign ministry of the three countries discussed this pact which had been proposed for the first time by Macron two years ago.
HT reported that officials spoke about improving maritime security cooperation, “including maritime awareness, mutual logistical support and capacity building of other friendly countries in the Indo-Pacific region, said people familiar with the subject.
Aggressive Chinese actions in eastern Ladakh and the militarization of the South China Sea have boosted these efforts, according to the report. India, Australia and Indonesia are also expected to hold virtual meetings of their foreign and defense ministers to bolster regional cooperation and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific in the coming weeks.
Derek Grossman of RAND corporation, a US-based global policy think tank, wrote in an article titled “The Quad is About to Become Blatantly Anti-China Soon” that even the most ardent supporters of the maintenance balanced relations with China harden their positions, making it increasingly likely that New Delhi will turn to the Quad to counter China.
“For the first time in Quad history, the stars are lining up for a harder line on China, and the implications going forward could be significant.”