Updated: June 9, 2022 7:21:51 am
Calling Beijing’s behaviour “insidious” and “destablising”, a senior US General said Wednesday that China’s infrastructure development along its Western Theatre Command, which is responsible for the border with India across all sectors, is “alarming”.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, General Charles A Flynn, Commanding General of the United States Army Pacific, said, “I believe that the activity level is eye-opening. I think some of the infrastructure that is being created in the Western Theatre Command is alarming.” He said “much like across all of their military arsenal, one has to ask the question: Why?… What are their intentions?”
Referring to the military and diplomatic talks to resolve the Ladakh standoff between India and China, he said, “I think the talks that are going on are helpful, but behaviour matters here as well. So, I think understanding what they are saying is one thing, but the way they are acting and behaving is concerning, and should be concerning to everyone, and I think it is.”
He said the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Republic of China “what they are doing today, they take an incremental and insidious path… destabilising, and the coercive behaviour that they project into the region” is “simply not helpful.”
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“Our ability to strengthen relationships in the region, as a counterweight to these destabilising activities… strengthen the network of allies, partners and like-minded countries for the protection of their land, resources, protection for a free and open Indo-Pacific… that is worthy of us working together as a counterweight to some of the coercive and corruptive behaviour of the Chinese,” he said.
Calling India “a close partner” of the US, Flynn said “even though there was an awful lot going on globally, the geostrategic weight of this century exists in this region, and India, geographically, geostrategically, geopolitically sits at the centre of that.”
He said countries like India and the US are working closely, holding joint exercises that improve interoperability. He said Yudh Abhyas, the next joint exercise, will be held in a high-altitude area, at a height of 9,000-10,000 feet, in India in October. This exercise will be in conditions similar to the one in Ladakh where India and China have been involved in a military standoff for over two years now.
“This sharing of soldier, tactical and operational practices increases everybody’s readiness to respond to whatever crisis may occur” and has a “deterrent effect across the region.” He called it a way of “expressing our commitment to one another.”
On lessons from the Ukraine-Russia war, he said it is “too soon” and “lessons will be absorbed in the coming months and years” by forces around the world.
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