The joint naval patrol decision of US and India includes the disputed South China Sea, which would make Beijing angry as they claims most of the waterway.
Washington, US wants its regionl allies and other Asian nations to make a more stance against China over South China Sea, where tension have spiked in the wake of Beijing’s construction of seven man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago.
Indian navy has never carried out such a joint patrols with any other nation. Naval spokesman told Reuters that no changes has been made to the government’s policy of only joining an international military effort under the United Nations flag.
The US official said that two sides had discussed joint patrols, and would hopefully be launched within the year. But the officials didn’t provide any details on the scale of the proposed patrols.
This month only China accused US for seeking maritime hegemony in the name of freedom to navigation after US navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed island in the Paracel chain of the South China Sea in the late January.
And US has also conducted such similar exercises near China’s Artificial islands in October last year.
Last year, in January, during US president Barack Obama’s visit to India, both (India and US) agreed to back freedom of navigation and over flights in the waterways. And Obama and Indian PM Narendra Modi also agreed to “identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation”.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Taiwan claims the parts of the waterway, as each year more than $5 trillion in world trademoves through the South China Sea.
Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar visited the US Pacific command in Hawaii to discuss the issue of joint patrols.
India has a long-running dispute of land border with China and has been creful not to antagonize its more powerful neighbor, instead of building economic ties.
On the other is Vietnam, a country rapidly building military muscle for potential conflicts with China over the waterway.
China’s presence in the South China Sea has grown steadily during last few years reflects an expansion of the South Sea Fleet and the merging of various law enforcement agenvies into a unified coastguard.
The Philippines has also asked the United States to do the joint naval patrols to control the working of the waterway.
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