Macron Calls for Indo-Australia Axis to Stop China
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, 2 May, called for the creation of a new strategic alliance among France, India and Australia to respond to challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and the growing assertiveness of China.
On the second day of a visit to Australia, where he hopes to cement defence ties following the 2016 signing of a $38-billion mega deal to supply submarines to the Australian navy, Macron said the like-minded democracies should forge closer ties.
Macron visited China in January, where he warned Beijing that its new "Silk Road" initiative should not be "one-way.” He then flew to India in March, where he committed to strengthen a defence partnership that has already seen New Delhi buy French warplanes in 2016.
His visit to Australia, only the second by a French president, comes amid heightened tensions in the Pacific, where France has numerous interests.
France has island territories spanning the Indo-Pacific: Reunion and Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, and Noumea, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia in the Pacific.
Australia and New Zealand have each separately warned that China is seeking to exert influence in the Pacific through its international aid programme, an allegation Beijing denies.
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