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The relationship between Beijing and New Delhi has become strained over recent weeks following bloody conflicts along the highly disputed Himalayan border. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed during the Galwan Valley conflict.
Now India is retaliating against the Communist nation by inviting Australia to take part in the Malabar naval exercises, also referred to as Exercise Malabar.
The trilateral military event has been running since 1992 and includes the US and Japan.
This would mark the first time since 2007 Australia has taken part in the military exercise.
India withdrew their invitation after Beijing was angered Australian warships attended the Bay of Bengal exercise.
But now, fears have risen over China expanding its territory in the region and now Indo-Pacific powers are looking for closer cooperation to counter the Communist nation.
Although Australia has yet to be confirmed to take part in the exercise, Indian media report it is only a matter of time.
Canberra’s consideration has angered Beijing, with the state-run Global Times claiming it would pose a risk to China’s security.
They wrote: “If Australia is included in the next Malabar drill, it will be the first time that all members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), an informal strategic forum between the US, Japan, Australia and India, coordinate at a military level.
“It meets the strategic requirements of the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, and interests of the other three members of the group.
“The four countries to various extents have friction with China in different domains at the present stage.
“Putting pressure on China will be one of their aims for their possible military drills, which will pose a certain risk to China’s security.”
A date for the Malabar Exercise has yet to be announced.
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Over recent years, Canberra has been eyeing India’s consumer market of more than a billion people and this joint exercise could be the key to secure a deal.
A closer trade relationship between the two nations would mean a huge windfall for Australia’s mining and agricultural sectors, the MailOnline reported.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Australia and China’s relationship has deteriorated and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for an independent international inquiry into the origins of the crisis.
Beijing responded by slapping huge tariffs on Australian wheat exports as well as blacklisting three of the country’s largest beef suppliers.
It is also hinted coal shipments could be locked down in Chinese ports in order to bully lawmakers.
Lowy Institute contributor, Aarti Betiger, said: “Australia’s strategy on engaging India has long revolved around the so-called three Cs: cricket, curry and the Commonwealth.
“In light of the changing status of bilateral relations in 2020, let’s add a couple more Cs to the list: China and containment of.”
Over recent weeks, Australia, India and the US have banned Chinese companies such as Huawei on the grounds of national security.
New Delhi has also banned TikTok and other Chinese social media apps over data protection breaches.
The UK has also moved forward with banning Huawei and aims to have the 5G phone network officially removed by 2027.
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