Naval chiefs of the Quadrilateral nations – India, United States, Australia and Japan – called China a “disruptive power” on Thursday, and pushed for a new regional security architecture to contain Beijing, The Times of India reported.
“China is a disruptive, transitional force in the Indo-Pacific,” US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris said on the last day of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. “We must be willing to take tough decisions in 2018 against unilateral ways to change the use of shared natural resources with rule-based freedom of navigation.”
Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba, Australian Navy Chief Vice Admiral Tim Barret, and Japanese Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano echoed Harris’ sentiments. Lanba said China’s Navy had changed its deployment pattern around Indian waters.
“They have a base in Djibouti. They have developed a port in Hambantota [in Sri Lanka], though we have been told there will be no permanent presence of the Chinese Navy there,” Lanba said. “China is developing ports and infrastructure that are not viable.”
“China’s military power is expanding,” Kawano said. “In the East and South China seas, China has been ignoring international law. In order to deter Chinese provocations, India, the US, Australia and Japan have to cooperate with one another.”
However, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said China had been a “motivator and example” for India in some ways. “People think that if China can do it, why can’t we?” he said. “To some extent, China has opened up the international order allowing India to make its presence felt. Its rise has many facets.”
The foreign secretary said that China was not just a rising global power but also a “very different power.” India, Jaishankar said, was part of the “solution”. “India has committed around $25-30 billion [Rs 1.6 lakh crore to Rs 1.9 lakh crore] in credits and grants in our extended neighbourhood, from East Africa to South East Asia”.