Washington: Recognising India's strategic and economic importance in the Asia-Pacific region, the US and Australia have welcomed growing engagement and increased cooperation with New Delhi on a range of security issues, particularly counter-terrorism, maritime security, countering transnational crime and cyber policy.
"Both sides recognised India's strategic and economic importance in the Asia-Pacific region, and welcomed growing engagement and increased cooperation with India on a range of security issues, particularly counter-terrorism, maritime security, countering transnational crime and cyber policy," the two countries said in a joint statement at the conclusion of Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations in Boston.
Expressing strong concerns over recent Chinese land reclamation and construction activity in the South China Sea, the two countries called on all claimant states to halt land reclamation, construction, and militarisation.
The US and Australia urged claimants to exercise restraint, take steps to ease tensions and refrain from provocative actions that could escalate tensions.
"Now, make no mistake: The United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea is not and will not be an exception. This is simply not ? not simply a US commitment," US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters at a news conference in Boston along with Secretary of State John Kerry and their Australian counterparts.
"Our two nations are joined by an increasing number of countries in the neighbourhood, including Japan, the Philippines, India, and Vietnam, all with an interest in prospering while serving regional ? excuse me ? solving regional issues," he said.