China ‘biggest security anxiety’ for India, Australia, says Australian Deputy PM

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Jun 23, 2022
Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh  in New Delhi on Wednesday

Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

China’s appalling behaviour at LAC is also by Australia in South China Sea: Richard Marles

Visiting Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles Thursday said China is “biggest security anxiety” for his country and India, and described the PLA’s transgression at Galawan in 2020 as an “appalling behaviour” which they are also experiencing in South China Sea.

Marles, who is on an official visit to New Delhi, said this in his interaction with journalists at Australian High Commission. China, he observed, has become assertive over the last decade and is trying to "shape the world around it in ways that we have not seen before".

"China is our biggest security anxiety and so is for India. At his moment it is really important that we are reaching out. We are friends exchanging notes. We are working closely to build our relatonship in terms of economic and defence together," said the deputy prime minister-cum-defence minister of Australia.

Marles, however, assured that Australia stands in solidarity with India given that the two nations along with others have come together to establish rule of law in Indo-Pacific region.

"We have seen that in the South China Sea and with India along the LAC two years back, the appalling behaviour with Indian soldiers. We stand in solidarity with India in respect of that incident (Galwan). For us, we are experiencing that in the South China Sea," Marles pointed out.

On China's expansionist design

Elaborating on the China's expansionist design, Marles remarked that in the South China Sea, construction of artificial islands and island reclamation is taking place. "Be it LAC or SCS, China is challenging the established rules-based order which is important for the region," Marles said at the media interaction. The Australian minister said we welcome statements by both China and Solomon Islands that there is no intention to develop a Chinese permanent military base there.

China's assertion in Indo-Pacific region had also figured in the bilateral talks Marles had with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday following which a joint press statement was issued reaffirming commitment towards implementation of the comprehensive strategic partnership. On his meeting with Singh, Marles commented that he has invited him to Australia and that there is a need for greater engagement between two defene forces to ensure "we become more and more closer".

The Deputy Prime Minister said Australia is looking forward for greater frequency of activity in operations and exercises. The Indian Air Force will be taking part in Exercise Pitch Black in August.

Published on June 23, 2022
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