China welcomes India’s decision to reject Australia’s offer for naval drill
China on Wednesday said it was "happy" to know that India has refused Australia's offer to join upcoming naval exercises with Japan and the US, a move that could have irked Beijing.
"I have seen the relevant report. I think India is also clear about the consideration behind this behaviour," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said here.
"We are happy to see no more dialogue and communication on security issues," a smiling Hua said in an obvious reference to Australia.
India has reportedly rejected Australia's proposal to take part in a joint naval exercise with Japan and the US in the Bay of Bengal in July.
"But we also hope that when conducting such operations the parties can fully consider the security concerns for the relevant parties and also play a positive and constructive role in promoting regional peace and stability," Hua added.
China has been expanding its footprints in the Indian Ocean, causing concern to India.
As a counter to China's growing influence, India has been holding the naval drill 'Malabar' with Japan and the US.
The Malabar exercise started in 1992 with the US and India in the Indian Ocean. Since Japan joined in 2007, it has alternated between the West Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
China has been wary of the exercise and Australia's entry into the drill would have added to its worry.
Last year Chinese media sharply criticised the Malabar exercises saying that they are designed to target China.
"Such a large-scale military exercise was obviously designed to target China's submarine activities in the East and South China Seas in recent years, promote the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and cement the US presence in the region," an article in the state run Global said last year.
"Washington brought New Delhi and tokyo into the exercise to relieve its pressure due to overstretched military presence around the globe and tighten its grip on the Asia-Pacific region," it had said.
(With IANS inputs)