China Current Affairs - 2019

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India and France to begin patrolling mission in Indian Ocean Region

India and France are to launch joint naval patrolling mission after the Varuna Naval Exercise that was held in May, 2019. The joint mission is to be executed in the Indian Ocean Region to protect the strategic interests of the countries and to check large scale illegal fishing.

Highlights

The Joint Patrol mission is to start in 2020. The navies will operate joint patrols with Indian Navy deploying P8I maritime surveillance and the French Navy operating from Reunion Islands. The Reunion Islands is an island of France in the Indian Ocean. It was discovered in 16th century by the Portuguese. France has bases in Reunion Islands, Djibouti and Mayottee to balance China.

Significance

The joint mission is important as China is expanding its naval influence in the region. China has increased its presence in the region through its strategic bases like Gwadar in Pakistan, Hamabantota in Sri Lanka and a key military facility in Djibouti, Horn of Africa.

Common interests

When two tankers were attacked in Strait of Hormuz in June 2019, both India and France decided to deploy one of their frigates in the area individually. Later, Indo-French pact was signed in which the countries agreed to share information between them in order to strengthen the security in the region.

Mitra Shakti: India Sri Lanka Joint Military Exercise

The seventh Indo-Sri Lanka joint military exercise was held on December 1, 2019 at Aundh military station. The main objective of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the countries.

The exercise is scheduled to be conducted at the Foreign Training Node in Pune between December 1 and December 14, 2019.

Highlights

The exercise aims at enhancing the interoperability of the armies when deployed as a part of the United Nations peace keeping force. During the exercise the armies will exchange their skills on counter insurgency, counter terrorism operation in rural and urban environment.

Also, the armies are to be provided with sub unit level training on counter terrorism under United Nations mandate. The exercise also focused on battle drills and field crafts.

Significance

The Mitra Shakti exercise was started in 2013 and is conducted annually as a part  of military diplomacy and interaction between the armies of India and Sri Lanka. It is important for India to maintain good relations with its neighbors in political, economic, social ways. This will also help India in implementing its Neighbourhood first Polocy. With China increasing its presence in Sri Lanka (Hambantota port), it becomes vital for India to revive and boost historical ties.