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India, other Quad nations join France in mega naval drill in Indian Ocean​


India, other Quad nations join France in mega naval drill in Indian Ocean

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India and three other Quad member nations on Monday joined France in kick-starting a three-day naval wargame in the eastern Indian Ocean in reflection of their growing maritime cooperation amid China's growing efforts to expand influence in the region.

Officials said the Indian naval ships Satpura and Kiltan along with P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft are participating in the French Navy-led 'La Perouse' exercise.


Besides India, other Quad member nations participating in the first such exercise are the US, Japan and Australia, they said.

The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India's strategic interests. China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.

Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said the exercise will witness complex and advanced naval operations including surface warfare, anti-air warfare and air defence exercises.

He said it will also feature weapon firing exercises, cross deck flying operations and tactical manoeuvres among others.

"The exercise will showcase high levels of synergy, coordination and interoperability between the friendly navies," he said.

"Participation by the Indian Navy in the exercise demonstrates the shared values with friendly navies ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order," Madhwal said.

The French Navy has deployed its amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre and frigate Surcouf while the US Navy is being represented by amphibious transport dock ship Somerset, officials said.

The Royal Australian Navy has deployed Anzac, a frigate, and tanker Sirius while Japanese Navy is being represented by the destroyer Akebono, they said.

India has been expanding cooperation with navies of the US, Japan, Australia and France in the last few years.

On March 28 and 29, India and the US navies carried out a two-day naval exercise in the eastern Indian Ocean Region.

The Indian Navy deployed its warship Shivalik and long-range maritime patrol aircraft P8I in the 'PASSEX' exercise while the US Navy was represented by USS Theodore Rosevelt carrier strike group.

A carrier battle group or carrier strike group is a mega naval fleet comprising an aircraft carrier, accompanied by a large number of destroyers, frigates and other ships.

 

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China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks during a press conference, where he also urged the U.S. to "face up to its own serious human rights problems," according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Wang continued, "Considering its irrefutable misdeeds on human rights, what qualifies the United States to lecture others?," according to AFP.

The remarks by Wang come in response to Blinken issuing a statement saying that the U.S. "will continue to stand with the people of China as they demand that their government respect universal human rights," and "honor the sacrifices of those killed 32 years ago, and the brave activists who carry on their efforts today in the face of ongoing government repression," on the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

In April 1989, students in China began protesting in Tiananmen Square over numerous issues including corruption and calls for political change.

Protests continued over the next several months, and on June 4 of that year, the Chinese government declared martial law against the demonstrators. Soldiers marched on Tiananmen Square and opened fire on protesters.

Numerous protesters died, with some estimates nearing 1,000 fatalities, but China has continued to claim that no deaths occurred within the square and Beijing has never confirmed an exact death toll.
Public mention and remembrance of the event has continued to be prohibited in mainland China. The incident also led to heightened tensions between China and the U.S.

In his statement on Thursday, Blinken said, "Named after the nearby Gate of Heavenly Peace, the square is instead synonymous with the brutal actions by the government of the People's Republic of China in 1989 to silence tens of thousands of individuals advocating to have a say in their government and exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Blinken also noted that police in Hong Kong banned a Tiananmen Square vigil to honor the victims. Authorities in China said that the gathering was against COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.

"The Tiananmen demonstrations are echoed in the struggle for democracy and freedom in Hong Kong, where a planned vigil to commemorate the massacre in Tiananmen Square was banned by local authorities," Blinken said.

A spokesperson for the State Department told Newsweek that the U.S. has continued to denounce efforts by China to prohibit residents from commemorating the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

While the Tiananmen Square vigil was banned by authorities, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said on Friday it was planning to hold a "candlelight vigil at the U.S. embassy to remember the victims of the massacre in Tiananmen Square 32 years ago."

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People hold up their phones with the light on in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on June 4 after police closed the venue where Hong Kong people traditionally gather annually to mourn the victims of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, which the authorities have banned, citing the coronavirus pandemic and vowed to stamp out any protests on the anniversary.ISAAC LAWRENCE/GETTY

"Those killed were only trying to find new ways to strengthen the country they loved. They were patriots whom we remember, and their courage continues to inspire us," the embassy said in a statement.

Newsweek reached out to China's Foreign Ministry for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
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sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
'Only faith will not abandon you.'

28 Oct, 2021
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2 hours ago
 
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