NEW DELHI: China’s expansive military build-up and its assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific is the “biggest security anxiety” for both Australia and India, Australian deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday, stressing the need for the two nations to work even closer to protect the global rules-based order that has brought prosperity to the region.
“China is seeking to shape the world around us in ways that were not seen before. We are experiencing, particularly in the last couple of years, more assertive behaviour from China,” Marles said.
China’s “appalling” behaviour has been evident along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, which saw Indian and Chinese casualties in a border clash for the first time in 45 years in June 2020, as well as the South China Sea, where Beijing is constructing artificial islands and strong-arming its neighbours on territorial disputes.
“When we look at what happened at the LAC, what we are seeing is that one country (China) is seeking to deal with its disputes not through the established set of rules but through power and use of force,” Marles said, expressing solidarity with India while interacting with some journalists here.
Marles, also the defence minister, also expressed major concern over the growing military cooperation between China and Russia.