Will not gang up against China in Indo-Pa­cific re­gion: India

India and China dis­cussed mar­itime se­cu­rity is­sues and prospects for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion

The Hitavada - - HOME & ABROAD - ■ By Gau­rav Sharma

INDIA on Fri­day told China that it is for free and open Indo-Pa­cific re­gion and does not be­lieve in gang­ing up against Bei­jing in the area as the two coun­tries held their se­cond mar­itime af­fairs di­a­logue.

India and China on Fri­day dis­cussed mar­itime se­cu­rity is­sues and prospects for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion for the first time since Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had enun­ci­ated India’s pol­icy on the strate­gic Indo-Pa­cific re­gion amidst Bei­jing flex­ing mus­cles in the South and East China seas.

The two sides held their se­cond mar­itime se­cu­rity di­a­logue here dur­ing which the In­dian side elab­o­rated on its vi­sion for the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion as ar­tic­u­lated in Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s key­note ad­dress at this year’s Shangri-La Di­a­logue in Sin­ga­pore.

The re­vival of so-called quad - an idea of anti-China bloc con­tain­ing the US, Ja­pan, India, and Aus­tralia in the Indo-Pa­cific -has wor­ried China, which has be­come in­creas­ingly as­sertive in the in­ter­na­tional wa­ters.

How­ever, India sought to al­lay China’s anxiety at the Shangri-La Di­a­logue in Sin­ga­pore where Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said New Delhi “does not see the Indo-Pa­cific Re­gion as a strat­egy or as a club of lim­ited mem­bers”.

He also talked about “free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion, unim­peded com­merce and peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes in ac­cor­dance with in­ter­na­tional law”.

At the mar­itime di­a­logue in Bei­jing, India gave the same mes­sage to China. “The In­dian side also elab­o­rated on its vi­sion for the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion as ar­tic­u­lated in Modi’s key­note ad­dress at this year’s Shangri-La Di­a­logue in Sin­ga­pore,” a state­ment from the In­dian Em­bassy in Bei­jing said.

Even though India has never openly ad­mit­ted be­ing a part of the group­ing, it has held talks with the other three, much to China’s dis­com­fort.

“The two sides ex­changed views on var­i­ous topics of mu­tual in­ter­est, in­clud­ing per­spec­tives on mar­itime se­cu­rity and co­op­er­a­tion, blue econ­omy and fur­ther strength­en­ing of prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion,” it added.

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