July 13, 2018
Beijing:India on Friday told China that it is for free and open Indo-Pacific region and does not believe in ganging up against Beijing in the area as the two countries held their second maritime affairs dialogue.
The revival of so-called quad — an idea of anti-China bloc containing the US, Japan, India, and Australia in the Indo-Pacific — has worried China, which has become increasingly assertive in the international waters.
However, India sought to allay China’s anxiety at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore where Prime Minister Narendra Modi said New Delhi “does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members”.
He also talked about “freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law”.
At the maritime dialogue in Beijing, India gave the same message to China.
“The Indian side also elaborated on its vision for the Indo-Pacific region as articulated in Modi’s keynote address at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore,” a statement from the Indian Embassy in Beijing said.
Even though India has never openly admitted being a part of the grouping, it has held talks with the other three, much to China’s discomfort.
“The two sides exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest, including perspectives on maritime security and cooperation, blue economy and further strengthening of practical cooperation,” it added.
The two sides also stressed the need to further strengthen maritime cooperation as an important area of bilateral relations.
They believed that maritime cooperation would enhance political and strategic mutual trust between the two countries.
The Indian delegation was led by Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) in the Ministry of External Affairs, while the Chinese delegation was represented by Wu Jianghao, Director General at the Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.