The first bilateral military exercises between India and Australia are set to begin today, the Times of India reports:
[The exercise] will focus on anti-submarine warfare as the two countries look at deepening defence cooperation especially in the Indian Ocean. AUSINDEX-15 is being conducted off the east coast of India from September 11-19.
The maritime exercise is a tangible sign that will strengthen defence co-operation between the two countries as envisaged in the Framework for Security Co-operation announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014, a Navy statement said.
The exercises begin a week after top Australian analysts told the Sydney Morning Herald that China was handily winning the battle for control of shipping routes in the South China Sea.
As we have said before, Sydney may seek close economic ties with Shanghai, but the Aussies are very worried about Chinese military aggression. India shares these concerns, and New Delhi has been working hard to improve relations with Canberra for some time: last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a big trip to Australia. Still, these exercises mark an important milestone for both countries. And they will be followed by another significant set of drills: Japan will join India’s Malabar exercises with the U.S., to be held in the Bay of Bengal in October. As Bejing continues to pursue its regional ambitions, its rivals are pulling together.