Activities putting South China Sea at risk, a concern for India, US: Pentagon


South-China-Sea-Fleet

The Pentagon has said that any activity that ‘puts at risk’ the critical waterway of the South China Sea is of concern to countries like India and the US.

“The critical waterway that the South China Sea is for so much of global commerce, that for anything to put that at risk right now would certainly be of concern to the United States”, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said at a news conference on May 16.

“We believe other countries in the region (are concerned as well), and that includes India”, he added. During US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s recent visit to India in April, Mr Cook said: “The Secretary talked about this when he was in India, that China’s actions in that part of the world have raised questions among many nations in the region”. He added, “And India has its interests, it’s freedom of navigation”.

Mr Cook said that he believed that Mr Carter feels that India can speak for itself on these issues. “The US interests in that part of the world and the notion of a part of the world where there is no NATO, but there is a security architecture there that has been able to foster (China’s economic) boom”, Mr Cook said.

A UN arbitration court is expected to issue a ruling in the next few weeks on a dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. With China refusing to participate in the UN arbitration, it has further escalated tensions between the US and China.