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International relations

India belatedly boosts naval competition with China

New Delhi needs partnerships to make up for lost opportunities

| China
Indian warships on parade off the coast of Mumbai   © Reuters

The signing of a military agreement between India and France granting mutual access to naval bases is a clear indication that India is ramping up its defense diplomacy in response to China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean.

The March 10 deal was hailed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "a golden step" and the visiting French President Emmanuel Macron as a milestone to prevent the Pacific and Indian Oceans from "becoming zones for hegemonic power."

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