India rejects Australia's proposal for naval drill; China 'happy'

China has been expanding its footprints in the Indian Ocean, causing concern to India.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: May 31, 2017, 16:12 PM IST
India rejects Australia's proposal for naval drill; China 'happy'

Beijing: A day after a report suggested that India has rejected Australia's request to participate in joint naval exercises with the United States of America and Japan, China on Wednesday said it was "happy" to know about that.

News agency Reuters had yesterday reported that Australia formally wrote to the Indian Defence Ministry in January asking if it could send naval ships to join the July wargames as an observer, in what military experts saw as a step toward eventual full participation.

Four officials from India, Australia, and Japan told Reuters that India blocked the proposal and suggested that Canberra sends officers to watch the exercises in the Bay of Bengal from the decks of the three participating countries` warships, instead.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: "I have seen the relevant report. I think India is also clear about the consideration behind this behaviour.”

"We are happy to see no more dialogue and communication on security issues," a smiling Hua said in an obvious reference to Australia.

"But we also hope that when conducting such operations the parties can fully consider the security concerns of the relevant parties and also play a positive and constructive role in promoting regional peace and stability," Hua added.

China has been expanding its footprints in the Indian Ocean, causing concern to India.

As a counter to China`s growing influence, India has been holding the naval drill `Malabar` with Japan and the US.

China has been wary of the exercise and Australia`s entry into the drill would have added to its worry.

The Reuters report yesterday said New Delhi was worried that China will step up activities in the Indian Ocean where it is building infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, feeding India`s anxiety about being encircled, Indian military sources and diplomats said.

(With Agency inputs)