Top US officials are concerned about the growing presence of the Chinese navy in Indian Ocean waters, including the establishment of military bases.
“Our concerns relate not only to China’s growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean, but also how it will express that presence and what its intentions are,” said Dr. Ely Ratner, the United States Secretary of Defense who said the Asia Pacific -Pacific region manages.
“We’re starting to see a pattern of PRC [People’s Republic of China] and PLA [People’s Liberation Army] behavior we’ve seen in other parts of the region, including non-compliance with international law, lack of transparency, including around its efforts to establish military installations abroad,” Dr. Ratner said.
The comments of Dr. Ratner at a select briefing come just weeks after NDTV published satellite images indicating that the Chinese military base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa was fully operational with a large warship deployed.
Beijing also recently deployed a satellite and missile tracking vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, which controversially docked at the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, where Beijing has a 99-year lease after Colombo found it difficult to pay the loans taken out to complete the facility.
While not directly referring to Hambantota, Dr. Ratner that Washington believes China “continues to use coercive economic instruments to achieve security goals.”
The United States remains committed to discussions about the evolving security situation in the Indian Ocean and believes New Delhi and Washington are “remarkably aligned in both our view of operations there and our overall assessment and concerns.”
India and the United States are important strategic allies, with the maritime engagement between the two countries being a highlight of the relationship. Last year, the USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier Strike Group conducted the first-ever combined anti-submarine and air warfare exercises with the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, exercises “unthinkable even a few years ago.”
Following the just concluded maritime dialogue between the two sides in New Delhi, Secretary of State S Jaishankar, who is in the United States, is expected to meet with US Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin (retired).
While significant differences remain in the bilateral relationship, including India’s historic relationship with Russia and the US decision to continue supporting Pakistani F-16 fighter jets, Washington is pushing for strategic relationship with India from a long-term perspective. to watch.
“Across the US administration, we view the US-India partnership as central to our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. And while there may be bumps along the way, we are really focused on the long game, which builds on our partnership going forward and supports India’s ability to shape a favorable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific,” said Dr. ratner.