Indian Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Manoj Pande will conclude a four-day visit to Australia today. During his visit,
Indian Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Manoj Pande will conclude a four-day visit to Australia today.
During his visit, Pande held a series of meetings with several senior military officials from different services of the Australian Defence Forces, including the Chief of the Australian Defence Forces, the highest ranking defense officer in Australia.
This visit takes on significance amidst recent growth in Australia-India bilateral economic, political and security relations. The shared imperative to deter China’s growing assertiveness has been an important driver in bringing Canberra and Delhi closer together. This strong strategic alignment has seen the two countries expand military interoperability and strategic cooperation across bilateral and multinational land, air and sea exercises in recent years.
China’s growing military power and assertiveness will likely push Australia and India to broaden their defense partnership. While India’s non-aligned legacy means that a formal mutual defense agreement is highly unlikely, expect the two sides to work toward expanding other forms of security cooperation, such as intelligence sharing in the short-to-medium term. The increasing number of Chinese research vessels, submarines and underwater drones operating in the Indian Ocean presents an opportunity for India and Australia to strengthen their cooperation on maritime surveillance. Such a development would complement U.S. efforts to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.