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India-South Korea defence partnership worries China

An important state-run Chinese English daily has cautioned that India has tried to win over Southeast Asian countries and move toward a multilateral defence.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 27, 2019, 11.42 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: China has stated that it is vigilant to growing India-S Korea defence cooperation and expressed concern that this partnership could be a threat to the country’s periphery.

An important state-run Chinese English daily has cautioned that India has tried to win over Southeast Asian countries and move toward a multilateral defence.

“It recently conducted joint maritime exercises with Singapore and Thailand. Incorporating South Korea into this mechanism is a potential threat to China's peripheral security, warned the state sponsored media,” according to The Global Times article titled ‘China should remain alert to India-South Korea security cooperation’.

These views expressed by The Global Times are significant in the backdrop of the recent defence pacts between India and South Korea and South Korean firm entering the fray for submarines in India.

“This Seoul-New Delhi defence cooperation has moved forward as a result of their national strategies and external factors. The Indian Ocean is South Korea's energy import route from the Middle East. To ensure transport security, Seoul must enhance joint escort operations with India,” said The Global Times.

“Two strategic considerations define India's security cooperation with South Korea. First, New Delhi hopes to get more involved in Northeast Asian issues while expanding regional influence. Developing all-round cooperation with South Korea is conducive to India's involvement in Northeast Asia. Second, New Delhi wants to seek Seoul's cooperation in addressing the "China threat". How far can Seoul-New Delhi security cooperation progress? To some extent this is influenced by Seoul-Tokyo and Seoul-Beijing ties,” suggested the article.

“...as a significant player in the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, India could garner US support by cooperating with South Korea. Beijing must be wary of the possibilities of Washington and New Delhi wooing Seoul to join the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” the Global Times further warned.

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