New Delhi: Amid increasing Chinese military assertiveness in the waters of South China Sea, a top American military commander today pitched for a quad-lateral security dialogue between India, Japan, Australia and the US even as he hoped for a joint patrol in the Asia Pacific region in future.
Wooing India, chief of US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris said that on the security front, the US needs India’s leadership in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as there are significant security challenges that no country can tackle alone.
“We are ready for you. We need you,” he said in his address at the ‘Raisina Dialogue’, a conclave on geo-economics and geo-politics here. He said both countries can together develop a roadmap that leverages respective efforts to improve the security architecture and strengthen regional dialogues.
Talking about India hosting Japan and Australia for its first ever trilateral dialogue here last year, Harris said some of the topics discussed were maritime security, including freedom of navigation patrols, and tri-lateral cooperation in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
“One idea to consider is initiating a Quad-lateral Security Dialogue between India-Japan-Australia and the United States. Adding the US into this dialogue can amplify the message that we are united behind the international rules-based order that has kept the peace and is essential to all of us,” he said.
Pitching for more joint military exercises, he said exercising together will lead to operating together. “By being ambitious, India, Japan, Australia, the United States and so many other like-minded nations can aspire to patrol together anywhere international law allows… And for decades, the United States has conducted freedom of navigation patrols without incident. No nation should perceive it as a threat,” he said.
On the US’ re-balance to Asia Pacific, Harris said strengthening economic connective tissue through security and diplomatic partnership is what America’s Rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific is all about. “Expanded cooperation with India will not only be the defining partnership for the Rebalance, it will arguably be the defining partnership for America in the 21st century,” he said.