China is the “greatest security concern” for Australia and India and Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea along the Line of Actual Control reflect its growing assertiveness, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday. Marles, the first senior leader to visit India since Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s centre-left Labor Party came to power last month, also said China was attempting to shape the world in an unprecedented way.
He also said that Australia sees India as “absolutely central” to its world outlook, and that intensive defense and security cooperation between the two countries is absolutely necessary to protect the rules-based global order, including in the Indo-Pacific region. is important. Talking to the media, he said, “For Australia, China is our biggest trading partner and India too… For Australia, China is our biggest security concern. Same is the case for India. How to do these two things.” To be resolved, it is not clear.” On the fourth and final day of his visit to India.
“Our concern is that when you look at Chinese behavior, whether it is at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or the South China Sea, what you see is a resolute behavior that seeks to challenge the established rules-based order. , which is very important to the prosperity of the region,” Marles said. In that context, he said Australia sees its relationship with India as “really important” in protecting the global rules-based order, adding that Chinese assertiveness is a matter of concern. He said, “We have seen this in relation to the Line of Actual Control. We stand in solidarity with India regarding the incident that happened a few years ago, where there was horrific treatment of Indian soldiers.” Galwan Valley Conflict in 2020.
He said the Chinese action along the LAC reflects a country’s demand to settle its disputes not on the basis of a set of rules but “through power and force and this is a matter of concern”. Marles said Australia is also “concerned” about the growing defense relationship between China and Russia, and stressed the importance of democracies protecting the rules-based order. “China is trying to shape the world around us in a way we haven’t seen before and it’s really been about the last decade. In trying to shape the world we’re experiencing. .. more outspoken Chinese behavior over the years,” he said.
Marles, who is also Australia’s defense minister, said both New Delhi and Canberra are strongly committed to expanding defense and security ties as his country sees India as “absolutely central” to its world outlook. Is. “It is really important that we live in a world where there is a rules-based system, where disputes between countries are resolved according to a set of rules and in a peaceful manner,” Marles said.
Highlighting the depth of bilateral relations, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister said that India is huge in the popular Australian consciousness as relations have evolved significantly over the past few decades. On the Ukraine crisis, Marles said: “What we’re seeing there is having an impact on the global food supply and that’s a real concern.” “There is no doubt that the war in Ukraine is having an impact on the global food supply and we are working closely with the World Food Program to see how we can mitigate the situation as a food exporting nation. We will talk to India. Also,” he said.
Asked about the Quad, which includes India, Australia, the US and Japan, Marles said it is not a security alliance as it has no defense pillar. On the South China Sea, Marles said that freedom of navigation and overflight in the region is absolutely essential to Australia’s national interest.
“We want to work with India, and certainly with countries like India, so that a global rules-based order and defense and military relations are part of that,” he said. Referring to the “great strategic competition” affecting the Pacific islands, he welcomed comments made by China and the Solomon Islands that there is no intention of establishing a Chinese base on the Solomon Islands. On Australia, Britain and the US, he said it is not a security alliance as sharing technology is its main objective.
The AUKUS partnership, announced in September last year, will allow Australia to acquire technology to build nuclear-powered submarines. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Marles in their comprehensive talks on Wednesday resolved to further expand bilateral defense and military ties with the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Relations between India and Australia have strengthened over the years. In April, the two countries signed an agreement to diversify bilateral trade.
In June 2020, India and Australia extended their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and signed a landmark agreement for mutual access to military bases for logistical support. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement allows the armies of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides enhancing overall defense cooperation.
The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise conducted by India in November 2020 as well as last year.
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