(The Philippine Star)
DELHI – India clarified yesterday it was not launching joint patrols with the US in the South China Sea.
The clarification came in the wake of India’s expressing its displeasure at Washington’s announcement of sale of F-16 aircraft to India’s long-time regional rival Pakistan.
The clarification was also issued after the US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) voiced concern over China’s militarization of the South China Sea.
“We have denied it. There are no joint patrols,” said Anil Wadhwa, secretary for the East of India’s Ministry of External Affairs at the start of the Delhi Dialogue VIII forum here.
The event theme is “ASEAN-India Relations: A New Paradigm.”
In a press statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs last Feb. 13, the Indian government expressed dismay over the US move allowing the sale of fighter planes to Pakistan.
“We are disappointed at the decision of the Obama administration to notify the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan,” MEA said in a statement posted on its website. “We disagree with their rationale that such arms transfers help to combat terrorism. The record of the last many years in this regard speaks for itself,” it said.
“The US ambassador will be summoned by the MEA to convey our displeasure,” it added.
This developed as reports from the US-ASEAN summit quoted Southeast Asian leaders as expressing concern over China’s militarization of the South China Sea.
“In their discussions, the leaders expressed collective concern over continued militarization in the South China Sea, which they recognized as a core issue in region,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said after Monday’s US-ASEAN Summit with President Barack Obama.
Coloma sent notes of the meeting to Manila-based reporters who covered Aquino’s final attendance at the US-ASEAN special summit in Rancho Mirage in California.