India—No patrols with US in South China Sea

India: No patrols with US in South China Sea


 (The Philippine Star)

Vessels of the Philippine Navy and the United States 7th Fleet steam in formation in South China Sea during exercise Balikatan 2010. US Navy/Mark Alvarez, file


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.

Washington’s destabilizing role in South China Sea

Commentary: Washington’s destabilizing role in South China Sea

Xinhua net

Patrol vessel Haixun-21 arrives in Yongxing Island of Sansha City on the South China Sea, south China, April 22, 2015. (Xinhua file photo/Guo Qiuda)

BEIJING, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — After failing to get its way at the first U.S.-ASEAN summit in California, Washington appears ready to grasp at anything that could be used against China.

And the media hype over China’s deployment of a surface-to-air missile system in Yongxing Island, part of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, just provided Washington a much-needed excuse to once again criticize Beijing for its alleged role in “militarizing” the region.

For starters, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and deploying limited and necessary national defense facilities on China’s own territory has nothing to do with militarization in the South China Sea.

China has repeatedly made it clear that it has no intention to militarize the region. Its activities are mainly for maintenance purposes, improving the living conditions for the stationed personnel there and providing more public goods in the region.

With trillions of dollars’ worth of goods traversing the patch of water every year, the South China Sea is vital both to global trade and to China’s development. Beijing has no reason to disrupt one of its own crucial arteries of trade.

Meanwhile, the United States, which has become fixated on the South China Sea since Washington announced a pivot to the Asia-Pacific, has been the primary source of destabilization in the area.

It has conducted a slew of naval and air patrol trips in the vicinity of the China-owned islands, which is in clear violation of China’s sovereignty, not to mention international law.

In addition, it has also reopened military bases in the Philippines, in a move widely interpreted as stirring up tension in the region.

Furthermore, some countries in the region are taking more provocative measures to press for illegitimate territorially claims ever since the U.S. put the South China Sea on its radar.

If there were a ranking for destabilizers in the South China Sea, there’s no doubt Washington would top the list.

China’s practices in the region are defensive in nature, and it sees direct talks between rival claimants rather than military means as the best way to resolve any dispute.

For the sake of regional stability and the common good, let’s hope the United States honor its previous commitment of not taking sides on the issue or stirring up tensions. Only then can the South China Sea be home to calm waters.