New Delhi, Jun 6: India today indicated its unease over the US move to shift bulk of its naval fleet to the Asia Pacific region to counter China by making it clear that it favours a multilateral security architecture in the area.
During a delegation-level meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony, his US counterpart Leon Panetta also promised to initiate measures to provide access to dual use technology to India which has been contending that American norms were leading to denial of export of such sophisticated items.
“Antony emphasized the need to strengthen multilateral security architecture in the Asia-Pacific and to move at a pace comfortable to all countries concerned,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said about the meeting.
The stand has been taken by India in the light of US plans to shift majority of its aircraft carrier fleet to the Asia Pacific and its announcement that New Delhi was key to its plans of rebalancing power in the region.
Commenting on New Delhi's role in its strategy, Panetta while addressing a gathering at the IDSA, said, “Defence cooperation with India is a lynchpin in this strategy. India is one of the largest and most dynamic countries in the region and the world, with one of the most capable militaries.”
On the issues related to dispute over the South China Sea involving countries in Asia Pacific, Antony told Panetta that India favoured unhindered freedom of navigation in international waters for all.
“India supports unhindered freedom of navigation in international waters for all,” he said.
Beijing claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea area and has disputes with countries such as Philippines and Vietnam over the issue.