China continues to expand its position along Indian borders: Lloyd Austin

China continues to harden its stance along its borders with India, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin said Saturday, stressing that America stands by its friends as they uphold their rights while Beijing employs the “war coercion” and “aggressive approach.” territorial claims.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Austin noted that China is taking aggressive and illegal approaches to its claimed South China Sea territories and is pursuing its illegal maritime plans.

Further west we see Beijing hardening its position along the borders it shares with India, he said.

Indian and Chinese forces have been locked in a tense border dispute in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, when a violent clash broke out between the two sides in the Pangong Lake area.

China has also built bridges and other infrastructure such as roads and housing units in the border areas with India.

China also has maritime border disputes with various countries in the Indo-Pacific region such as Vietnam and Japan.

We remain steadfast in our mutual defense commitments,” Austin said.

His comments came days after a senior US general said some of the defense infrastructure being built by China near its border with India in Ladakh was “alarming” and called Chinese activities in the region “eye-opening”.

US Army Pacific Commanding General Charles A. Flynn, who visited India on Wednesday, expressed concern about China’s infrastructure buildup and also said the Chinese Communist Party’s “destabilizing and disruptive” behavior in the Indo-Pacific region is easy not helpful.

Austin also explained to defense delegates at the Singapore dialogue the importance of joint exercises that the USS Theodore Roosevelt conducted with the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force last spring in the Indian Ocean.

Stressing that the US remains open and fully prepared to deter and defeat future aggression, he said, “We also stand by our friends as they uphold their rights, which is especially important as the People’s Republic of China defends the war-enforcing and aggressive approach towards their territory accepts claims.

He said the US believes India’s “rising military capabilities and technological capabilities can be a stabilizing force in the region.

India, the US and several other world powers have spoken about the need to ensure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific amid increasing Chinese military maneuvers in the resource-rich region.

China claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam claim all parts of it.

Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.

The South China Sea and East China Sea are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. They are also vital to global trade.

Speaking at the Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between India, the US, Japan and Australia, he pointed out that last month’s Tokyo summit brought together the world’s biggest producers of wealth and security.

The Quad leaders are committed to working with ASEAN and the Pacific Islands to advance our common goals, Austin said.

He stressed that Australia, India and Japan have been holding security dialogues on maritime security cooperation since 2015.

In recent months, Japan and the Philippines have launched a new 2+2 dialogue, as have Australia and India, the defense minister noted.

We are also working together to make the security architecture more transparent and inclusive, he informed delegates.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard contributors; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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