India-hosted joint military exercises with Australia will conclude today. The Inaugural three-week AustraHind22 army drills—held in India’s north-western state of
India-hosted joint military exercises with Australia will conclude today.
The Inaugural three-week AustraHind22 army drills—held in India’s north-western state of Rajasthan—involved units from both the Australian and Indian armies. The official aim of the bilateral training exercises is improving the interoperability between the two forces when participating in UN missions.
AustraHind 2022 is the latest manifestation of increasing military cooperation between the two Quad allies in recent years. Repeated Indo-Australian naval and air drills are a clear message to China that Canberra and New Delhi will uphold the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region for ‘free-and-open’ sea routes—especially north of Australia through South-East Asia. However, the land-based nature of these exercises’ is a marked departure from the predominantly naval cooperation in the past. Additionally, the venue for the exercises—close to disputed Sino-Indian border regions—signals to China that the Quad allies view the rules-based order extending to India’s border regions.
Given the small scale of the exercises, serious repercussions are unlikely. Beijing likely views Quad intervention in Sino-Indian border disputes as very low. However, as the size and scope of the annual AustraHind increases, it potentially changes Beijing’s calculus should India take a tougher stance to border issues.