Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday signed a crucial defense pact to upgrade bilateral ties into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, according to media reports.
Whereas this accord is set against the backdrop of escalating border tensions between China and India, this intensifies friction between Beijing and Canberra. Some analysts regard this move as a joint effort between India and Australia to counter China.
It is true that China has had some frictions with both counties recently. Australia, which relies on the US for security and China for economy, has always struck a balance between the two sides. However, as one of the US' closest allies in the Asia-Pacific region, Canberra has coordinated with Washington closely in the latter's recent ramping up of attacks on Beijing. The land down under has recently adopted a tougher stance toward the world's second-largest economy upon which it depends.
After Chinese President Xi Jinping and Modi held their first informal summit in Wuhan in 2018, China and India have evidently improved bilateral ties. They have acted prudently to cope with sensitive issues, including border disputes.