- India signs a defense agreement with the United States following clashes in the Himalayas with China
- Thousands of American and Japanese troops will soon begin joint naval exercises on the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese)
India and the United States renewed their defense and security agreements during a joint press conference held in the Indian capital by US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh announcing the signing of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement ( BECA), which allows for greater sharing of information and strengthens defense cooperation between the two nations.
“The defense ties between our two nations remains a key pillar of our overall bilateral relationship. Based on our shared values and common interests, we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, particularly in light of increasing aggression and destabilizing activities by China”, said Esper.
The two countries will participate in the upcoming joint naval exercises between the members of the so-called Quad to be held in the Indian Ocean next month. The creation of the informal alliance between the four countries, the USA, India, Japan, and Australia, is intended as an operation to counterbalance Chinese military activities in the region.
Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) is an informal alliance between four countries, the USA, India, Japan, and Australia, intended as an operation to counterbalance Chinese military activities in the region
During a meeting held in Tokyo earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo railed against “the Communist Party cover-ups” in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, stating the need to work together to curb the “exploitation, corruption and coercion of the CCP.”
The naval exercises in Malabar have been described by Xinhua, the Chinese national news agency, as a demonstration of “selfish political interests”. “Quad members need to realize that attempting to stir up rivalry in the region goes against the trend of the times and will definitely not be accepted by major countries worldwide. Some countries’ attempts to advocate a Cold War mentality and create chaos in the region will only shoot themselves in the foot”, says Xinhua.
In recent months, China and India had accused each other of having crossed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) which defines the 3,000-kilometer-long border between the two nations in the Himalayas. The border has been subject to tensions this year, following a bloody clash between Chinese and Indian troops in June that left dozens of deaths on the field.
The deal gives the Indian government access to US geo-space intelligence, potentially improving Indian weapons systems located along the border.
While the US defense secretary is busy in India, tens of thousands of US and Japanese troops will begin a massive exercise this week in Okinawa, 400 kilometers east of the Senkaku, as part of joint anti-Chinese military operations.
According to the commander of the American forces, General Kevin Schneider, the exercises will demonstrate the ability and speed of response of the American-Japanese alliance in defending the Senkaku archipelago.
Over the years, the archipelago has been subject to ongoing tensions between Japan and China. Over the past year, Chinese ships have spent record time in the waters around the Senkaku, attracting Japanese condemnation.
For thirty years the United States has been carrying out biennially joint military exercises with the Japanese armed forces. This year, more than ever, they show America’s commitment to sending a fleet of 9,000 troops, an aircraft carrier strike group, and over 100 aircraft. The Japanese sent more than 37,000 troops, a flotilla of 20 Japan Maritime Self Defense Force warships, 100 military aircraft. Canada participates by sending a frigate.