(Image source from: defensenews.com)
Mark Esper, the US Defense Secretary said Washington will continue in advancement in growing partnership with India, as he referred to China and Russia as top two challenges of Pentagon in the coming years.
Esper said that the growing partnership will continue to advance in the two-plus-two ministerial that will be hosted by United States, as the strategic interests align
“Next week in Washington DC, the United States will host the second ever India two-plus-two ministerial, where we will continue to advance our growing partnership as our strategic interests align,” Esper said at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank.
Mark Esper and his Indian counter part Rajnath Singh will drive down to the headquarters of the State Department after the bilateral meeting at Pentagon where they join External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the second India-US two-by-two ministerial.
Beijing and Moscow were alleged for growing strength of the militaries which violates the sovereignty of smaller states. Esper added that China and Russia are seeking advantage themselves by attempting to undermine international laws and norms.
Esper noted that China has been expanding its economic ties across Asia, Europe and Africa with the objective of expanding the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) reach which has been less publicized about.
He added saying that “Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursion into Ukraine were evidence of its blatant disregard for the state sovereignty and its intent to undermine NATO’s cohesion.”
Referring to China, Esper said that a new era of great power competition has been entered. He added saying that, China first and Russia second are the top priorities of the department as both the nations are expanding their space capabilities, in cyber domains and are modernizing their armed forces in a rapid manner.
He said that the behaviour of China stood in contrast with vision of US which respects and provides opportunity for the countries regardless large or small.
He said that Beijing and Moscow are seeking advantage at the expense of others by violating the sovereignty of smaller states and are undermining international laws and norms.
Esper argued saying that the approach in proving superior to China continues referring to the Indo-Pacific partnership as evidences giving an example of the Joint vision 2020 which has been signed by himself and the P)rime Minister in his recent visit to Thailand.
Esper told the CFR audience that US wanted China to obey the international rules that includes freedom of navigation, just like how US and its allies implemented them.
“I do not want China to be an enemy. There is no need for them to be an enemy. But we certainly have entered this era of great power competition where we are competing with them,” he said.
Responding to the query whether competition between US and China to be referred to as ‘cold war’, he replied saying it as ‘premature’ assumption.
By Shrithika Kushangi