Australian Army Chief starts four-day India visit  

Lt Gen Richard Maxwell Burr, the Chief of the Australian Army, arrived in India on Tuesday on a four-day visit. On Wednesday, Burr met with his Indian counterpart Gen MM Naravane, as well as Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and other top military leaders.

Burr and Naravane “exchanged views on the current global environment and the situation in the Indo-Pacific, as well as discussing strategies to enhance defence cooperation between both armies,” the Army said in a statement on Wednesday.

He also met with Lt Gen Manoj Pande, Vice Army Chief, to discuss “regional security considerations.” Burr will visit Indian Army formations and units posted along western borders during the next two days, according to the Army.

The visit takes place against the backdrop of China’s strained relations with Australia and India, two of the Quad’s four members (the other two being the US and Japan).

“Block politics is becoming a buzzword.”

The Quad is seen by China as an attempt by the United States to “disrupt” regional peace and stability. On Monday in Beijing, China’s Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi warned reporters that America’s “Indo-Pacific strategy is a disaster.”

“The US professes a desire to develop regional cooperation, but in reality it is fuelling geopolitical rivalry,” he said, adding that the US is “creating exclusive clubs” and “establishing and imposing standards that favour itself and its acolytes.”

The US is staging a five-four-three-two configuration in the Asia-Pacific, according to Wang, from “strengthening the Five Eyes to peddling the Quad, from stitching together AUKUS to tightening bilateral military partnerships.” This is not a blessing for the region, but a nefarious plot to destabilise regional peace and stability.”

While the United States and Australia are members of all three, Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance that also includes Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom; Quad includes India and Japan; and AUKUS is the most recent trilateral security pact between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, under which the United States will share nuclear submarine technology with Australia.

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