For the second time in ten days, a senior U.S. official has raised the prospect of joint U.S.-India naval patrols in a region where China’s expanding territorial and military ambitions have raised tensions, and this time the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific suggested widening the proposed cooperation to include Japan and Australia as well.
Addressing a geopolitics forum in New Delhi, U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Harry Harris referred Wednesday to “quadrilateral” U.S.-India-Japan-Australia cooperation. A strategic dialogue initiative involving the four countries caused waves with Beijing when first attempted during the Bush administration in 2007.
Harris recalled that India, Japan and Australia last year held a first, high-level, three-way dialogue, which addressed topics including maritime security and “freedom of navigation patrols.”
“An idea to consider is perhaps expanding this trilateral to a quadrilateral venue between India-Japan-Australia and the United States,” he said. “We are all united in supporting the international rules-based order that has kept the peace and is essential to all of us.”