In Washington, according to Reuters, The top US diplomat for East Asia expressed the United States’ anticipation of more robust collaboration with India in the South China Sea. This region has been marked by territorial conflicts involving China and neighbouring countries.
During a recent state visit to Washington by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United States and India proclaimed themselves “among the closest partners in the world.” They highlighted the importance of upholding international law when dealing with issues related to the maritime rules-based order, particularly in the South China Sea.
According to Daniel Kritenbrink, during his address at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, there has been a noticeable and consistent increase in Chinese coercion within the disputed waters of the United States.
When questioned about India’s potential involvement in the South China Sea and increased cooperation with the United States, Kritenbrink affirmed that India would play a more prominent role. He further stated that the Quad, a collective of regional powers including the United States, India, Japan, and Australia, would foster enhanced collaboration.
The speaker emphasised that the United States’ primary objective in the region is to enhance the capabilities of its allies, partners, and like-minded nations who are committed to promoting a world characterised by peace and stability.
We are open to collaborating with any nation that shares our vision and values. Kritenbrink stated that India is included in the statement above.
The speaker emphasised the importance of refraining from engaging in bullying behaviour between large and small nations. This statement was made about China’s ongoing disputes with other claimants in the South China Sea.
Tensions have escalated in the disputed regions of the sea, which is recognised as a critical global trade route facilitating over $3 trillion in annual maritime trade.
China asserts sovereignty over a significant portion of the sea, encompassing its entirety. Furthermore, China advocates for resolving regional disputes, emphasising the exclusion of external intervention.
According to the spokesperson of China’s Washington embassy, Beijing’s stance on the South China Sea is supported by a strong foundation in both historical and legal aspects. In contrast, the United States, being a non-party to the disputes, is advised against engaging in military operations within the region.
During a news briefing, Liu Pengyu expressed that to prioritise the stability of the South China Sea and prevent any untoward incidents, the United States should cease its reconnaissance operations targeting China.
The United States has been actively pursuing the reestablishment of direct military-to-military communication with China to mitigate the risk of misunderstandings that may potentially escalate into unintended conflicts. However, China has exhibited reluctance to engage in such efforts.
Despite not being a claimant in the South China Sea, India has demonstrated an increased focus on strengthening regional security partnerships. This indicates India’s intention to assume a more prominent role in endeavours aimed at countering China.
On Wednesday, the Indian Navy announced its decision to dispatch an operational missile corvette to Vietnam as a goodwill gesture. This marks the first instance of India providing a warship to another nation.
Last month, Kritenbrink referred to “unsafe manoeuvres” conducted by Chinese vessels within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, specifically in the vicinity of oil and gas installations.
According to the speaker, the provocative behaviour of China intensifies risks for businesses, leading to the exclusion of competitors and facilitating the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in establishing a joint development agreement with its state-owned enterprises.