The growing partnership between the US, India and Japan is to keep peace in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, a top American commander has said, dismissing as “unfortunate” concerns raised by China over multilateral drills, including the Malabar naval exercise. “I say our partnerships stand on their own merits. Deepening military cooperation between these four great democracies (the US, Japan, Australia and India) is based on shared values and shared concerns,” US Pacific Command (PACOM) Commander Admiral Harry Harris said. In Malabar, he said, the US, Japan and India continued growing their partnership to keep the peace throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
“And in Talisman Saber, Japan and the US joined our war- fighting mates in Australia,” Harris said. “Unfortunately, there are some who question the motives for the increasingly cooperative relationship between the US, Japan, Australia and India,” Harris said in an apparent reference to the Chinese objections to such multilateral exercises. India, Japan and the US last month held Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal amid China’s growing assertiveness in the Indian Ocean region.
Harris said that China’s desire to pick and choose when it comes to international law demonstrates the kind of nation China is. “To me, China is a strategic competitor for the United States – and to Japan, for that matter,” he said. Harris said he has repeatedly emphasised that they can’t allow the areas where they disagree with China to impact their ability to make progress in the areas where they do agree.
“All Indo-Asia-Pacific nations, including the United States, should use smart power and try to cooperate with China where possible,” he said. “For PACOM, my goal remains to convince China that its best future comes from peaceful cooperation and meaningful participation in the current rules-based international order,” Harris added.