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India-Australia Drills Targeting Submarines Rattle China

  • First India-Australia naval exercises signal strategic shift
  • Indian Ocean emerges as growing region of competition
Indian naval sailors on a rubber inflatable boat pass naval warships at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

Indian naval sailors on a rubber inflatable boat pass naval warships at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

Photographer: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images
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India and Australia will focus on anti-submarine warfare in their first ever joint naval exercises, signaling a growing strategic relationship to counter China’s increased activity in the Indian Ocean.

The war games next month off India’s Visakhapatnam port in the Bay of Bengal will include exercises to protect a tanker from a hostile attack submarine. The area is near waters where China deployed a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time last year, as well as the Sri Lankan port where another unit surfaced twice. That caused a diplomatic uproar.