India and France will today conclude joint military exercises which began on November 15 at the Military School of Draguignan, France.
The joint exercises focus on “counter-terrorism operations in backdrop of semi-urban terrain under United Nations Mandate with the participation of the two armies.” This is the third joint biyearly training exercise between the two countries, the other two being the Garuda air forces exercises in January and Varuna naval exercises in April.
France’s Indo-Pacific strategy promotes multilateralism and stability, as well as emphasizes the country’s role of settling regional crises. India is important because it is at the center of France’s Indo-Pacific strategy and France’s geographic definition of the region. Likewise, after the controversial cancellation of the France-Australia submarine contract, India has become more important for France to maintain its strategic engagement with the region. India also needs French military bases in the Indian Ocean to expand its own footprint.
Expect today’s drills to continue developing interoperability between the two militaries. This will follow their trend of broader military and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Long-term, India and France will likely continue to develop their military relations while attempting to incorporate ASEAN nations to better counter regional instability.