News / Asia

    India Rejects Joint Naval Patrols with US in South China Sea

    FILE - Indian Navy personnel board the newly built INS Kochi, a guided missile destroyer, during a media tour at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, Sept. 28, 2015.
    FILE - Indian Navy personnel board the newly built INS Kochi, a guided missile destroyer, during a media tour at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, Sept. 28, 2015.
    Anjana Pasricha

    India has ruled out participating in joint patrols in the South China Sea proposed by the United States. Experts say that India wants to focus on containing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean and despite a growing strategic partnership, it remains wary of being part of a military alliance with Washington.
     
    The proposal that the navies of Japan, Australia and India could join the U.S. in preserving freedom of navigation in the contested waters of South China Sea was voiced recently by chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry B. Harris.
     
    But within days, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "As of now, India has never taken part in any joint patrol; we only do joint exercises. The question of joint patrol does not arise.”

    FILE - U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, right, walks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar after receiving a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, June 3, 2015.
    FILE - U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, right, walks with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar after receiving a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi, India, June 3, 2015.

    Indian naval spokesman D.K. Sharma underscored India’s position that it only participates in military operations that take place under the United Nations flag.

    “The biggest example in contemporary times is the Gulf of Aden patrols. From 2008 onwards when piracy has infested the Gulf of Aden and North Aegean Sea, India has not joined hands with any NATO or any other construct,” said Sharma.

    Wary of China’s push in South China Sea, where maritime and territorial disputes are festering, India has shed its traditional diffidence and been vocal in calling for freedom of navigation and maritime security in the disputed waters.
     
    At the same time, strategic experts say that New Delhi wants to be seen as a “neutral player” in an area where it is not directly involved.

    Satellite imagery analysis by geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor shows overall land, building and military expansion by China on Woody Island in the South China Sea. (Courtesy of Stratfor)
    Satellite imagery analysis by geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor shows overall land, building and military expansion by China on Woody Island in the South China Sea. (Courtesy of Stratfor)


     
    Wary of provoking China

    Manoj Joshi at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi says India is concerned about the potential ramifications in the Indian Ocean if its ships take part in U.S.-led patrols in waters close to China.
     
    “India is worried that if we do joint patrols with the U.S, the Chinese could do it to us with Pakistan. That is really the worry -- the US navy can operate globally, but India is not that powerful and that same thing could be turned on its head as far as we are concerned,” says Joshi.
     
    Beijing’s bid to expand its presence in the Indian Ocean remains a huge concern for India and has partly prompted its growing defense partnership with Washington.
     
    Overriding Chinese objections, last year India invited Japan back into annual naval exercises held with the U.S. for the first time in eight years.
     
    Planned exercises

    This year, the three countries are scheduled to hold naval drills in waters off the northern Philippines near the South China Sea — a move that is likely to irk Beijing.

    FILE - The U.S. Hamilton-class cutter, Manila's largest Navy warship, was sent to check on Chinese fishing boats after a Philippines Navy surveillance plane spotted the Chinese vessels in the Scarborough Shoal, April 8, 2012.
    FILE - The U.S. Hamilton-class cutter, Manila's largest Navy warship, was sent to check on Chinese fishing boats after a Philippines Navy surveillance plane spotted the Chinese vessels in the Scarborough Shoal, April 8, 2012.

    But for the time being, joint exercises is as far as India is willing to go. “If India and the U.S. have not contemplated similar kind of patrol in Indian Ocean, what could justify India and U.S. patrolling waters of South China Sea?” asks Chintamani Mahapatra, a foreign policy professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
     
    India’s decades-long border dispute in the Himalayas with Beijing where their armies face off is also likely to hold New Delhi back from wading into the contentious waters of South China Sea.

    “We have a long border and it is just us and them on that border. We will certainly stand firm in our position, but we don’t want to provoke,” says Jayadeva Ranade, a China specialist at India’s National Security Advisory Board.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
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    by: Joey from: Asean
    March 15, 2016 11:14 PM
    Thanks India. You made a right choice by not involving.

    by: john doe
    March 13, 2016 4:39 AM
    We all know India is a backstabber they hate america, they are pro russia, we don't like you either since you all smell funny and has a funny accent, i'll no longer buy anything at 711
    In Response

    by: guru from: india
    March 14, 2016 6:09 AM
    err... backstabber?? who is giving F16s to pakistan? Where did you find bin laden?? in india or pakistan?? Billions of dollars are given to pakistan (by your country) under the pretext of fighting terrorism, and they are using this money to increase their nuclear arsenal.
    In Response

    by: Sam from: Sandesov
    March 13, 2016 12:22 PM
    Yes we are pro-Russia, because your country sent an air-craft carrier to attack us during 1971, if it weren't for the Russian intervention, millions of Indians would have died. Only because your country was on the wrong side of history protecting the genocidal Pakistani who before the Indian intervention successfully massacred 3-million Bangladeshis or the erstwhile East Pakistan.

    by: TO
    March 12, 2016 8:50 PM
    As prime minister Trudeau said, Americans should pay more attention to the rest of the world. India is doing what is good for itself. The price tag for being America's ally is doing what is good for Amecia no matter what. It's so interesting to see some Seemingly Americans are so enemy to China. In fact, Chinese in general will never post an offensive comment against America or any other country. Chinese government has been telling its citizens being friend with people around the world.

    by: Yashraj from: New Delhi
    March 12, 2016 1:35 PM
    India is not your slave or a satellite country. How dare you even think to pit india in some conflict which isn't ours. We know how unrliable you are that is why me maintain extra ordinary relations with Russia.

    by: Observer
    March 12, 2016 10:24 AM
    It proves how unreliable ally India could be to the United States or other allies.
    In Response

    by: jvrn from: mumbai
    April 02, 2016 3:25 PM
    Unreliable ??we ??. why should we get involved into something which has nothing to do with us..

    by: HellMan from: India
    March 12, 2016 6:18 AM
    Why USA help India's Enemy Pakistan by providing F-16, in the name of business, So that, Pakistan can throw some nukes on India, in future, and expect help from India ?? US helps India's enemy to become stronger in the name of business.

    by: Dr. Rishi
    March 12, 2016 3:11 AM
    See that's the problem with American diplomacy, if you are not with them you're against them. Pakistan is your major Non-NATO ally and gets lots of goodies from you but gives a lot of that to terrorist organisations that will hurt you back. Pakistan double sleeps with China and US. I'll say if somebody is the winner then its definitely be Pakistan. And FYI thank you guys for giving them F-16s and lots of other goodies of Uncle Sam. You expect us to be against China then we also expect you to be against Pakistan proactively when a cross border terror attack takes place funded by Pakistani Army and Intelligence.

    Most of the Indians think that both US and China are opportunistic, expansionist and warmongering countries that want to maintain their hegemony over the whole world. It's people from countries like us who get destroyed by getting involved in such conflicts. By the way US hasn't proven to be a good ally to any country at all and serves only to its interests. We want to serve our own interests and like a sovereign country would do it our way. Our country is developing fast and would soon be a major economic power and really we don't want to get into a fight that isn't ours.

    by: Parven
    March 12, 2016 12:18 AM
    India is a coward nation afraid of China
    In Response

    by: manohar from: india
    March 12, 2016 3:26 PM
    Indians & our nation never afraid of any country , continent, planet, we believe in peace ✌, so mind ir language - mr . Parven
    In Response

    by: raja from: India
    March 12, 2016 1:55 PM
    watch your mouth KID

    Both China & India are Asia Most Powerful Countries

    You are Wrong about India is a coward nation afraid of China

    by: A
    March 11, 2016 7:42 PM
    I thought Pakistan sides with Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia sides with US. So how come Pakistan will side with China?
    In Response

    by: Sarfaraz from: Pakistan
    March 12, 2016 10:14 AM
    Then you are very naive. Pakistan and China have been fast friends since early 1960s.

    by: Jim
    March 11, 2016 6:45 PM
    It doesn't make sense that America wants support from India to patrol the China Sea but won't give support to help India patrol the Indian ocean. It's almost as if America is trying to pull a fast one, creating a diversion to gain a strategic advantage.
    Comments page of 2
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