World News

During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington last week, the United States and India referred to each other as “among the closest partners in the world” and emphasised the importance of upholding international law when addressing threats to the maritime rules-based order, including those in the South China Sea.

According to Daniel Kritenbrink of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, there has been a “clear and upward trend” of Chinese “coercion” in the disputed waters.

When asked if India will play a bigger role in the South China Sea and work more closely with the U.S. there, Kritenbrink responded “Yes,” adding that the Quad, which consists of the U.S., India, Japan, and Australia, would also cooperate more.

Developing the capabilities of allies, partners, and friends who share a vision for a peaceful and secure world, he added, was the U.S. emphasis in the area.

“We will be happy to work with any nation that shares that aim. Of course, India is included in that,” Kritenbrink added.

He continued, “Large countries should not bully smaller ones,” alluding to China’s confrontations with other South China Sea claims.

One of the most important trade routes in the globe and a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual shipborne commerce, the contested parts sea, is experiencing high levels of tension.

China asserts that nearly the whole sea is its territory and that any conflicts should be resolved amongst the countries in the area without foreign intervention.

The U.S. is not a party to the disputes and should not be undertaking military activities in the region, according to the Washington-based spokesperson for China’s embassy. Beijing’s position on the South China Sea, on the other hand, has a strong historical and legal basis, the spokesperson added.

“I think the U.S. needs to stop the reconnaissance operations against China,” Liu Pengyu said during a news briefing. “If the U.S. really cares about the stability of the South China Sea and wants to avoid accidents, I think it needs to do that.”

In an effort to avoid miscommunications that can result in inadvertent confrontation, the United States has been trying to reestablish direct military contact with China. However, China has opposed this.

India has recently strengthened security relations in the area, signalling its intention to play a stronger role in attempts to oppose China, despite the country’s lack of a South China Sea claim.

The Indian military said on Wednesday that it was giving Vietnam its first warship, an active duty missile corvette.

Last month, Kritenbrink made reference to “unsafe manoeuvres” made by Chinese ships inside Vietnam’s EEZ, particularly in the waters near oil and gas infrastructure.

He claimed that China’s confrontational actions increased economic risks, thereby driving away rivals and enabling the PRC to pursue a joint development agreement with its state-owned companies.

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