Australia’s defense minister cajoles India over Russia and China


Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles was in India for four days this week, shortly after visiting Japan and backing aggressive US accusations against China at the recent Shangri Security Forum -her in Singapore.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles. (Image: Facebook Richard Marles, MP)

Marles’ trips are part of a frantic series of overseas missions by Australia’s recently elected Labor government, to help the Biden administration escalate its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine and confront China in the Indo-Pacific.

While insisting that he was not “lecturing” India, Marles called on Narendra Modi’s Indian government to align itself against Moscow as well as Beijing. He issued a number of inflammatory statements, not only accusing China of aggressive behavior, but bracketing it with Russia.

In office since 2014, Modi’s Hindu-chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party government has increasingly engaged in a military alliance with the United States against China. This includes agreeing to the reactivation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) coalition of the United States, India, Japan and Australia against China. But Marles said the war in Ukraine made it essential for India to go further.

China was the “biggest security concern” for Australia and India, making greater cooperation between Canberra and New Delhi “absolutely imperative”, Marles said during a briefing to reporters on Thursday . He had met Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

In a speech to the National Defense College in New Delhi, Marles clearly warned the Indian government against its refusal, so far, to align itself with the proxy war between the United States and NATO in Ukraine versus Russia, with which India retains major economic and military ties.

“I don’t come here to lecture India on how it should react to this conflict or how it should handle its relationship with Russia,” Marles said. Each country must make its own choices.

“But Russia’s war on Ukraine teaches us that we cannot rely solely on economic interdependence to prevent conflict; and that deterrence can fail when a country’s determined military buildup creates an imbalance of military power.

While once again denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Marles did all he could to drag India further into similar US-led provocations against China across the Indo-Pacific region.

Marles stressed the Labor government’s full support for last September’s AUKUS military pact between the US, UK and Australia, saying it was a key response to “the assertiveness from China and suggested a similar “partnership” with India.

Marles pointed out that the AUKUS treaty goes beyond the supply of long-range nuclear submarines to Australia. It extended to advanced military capabilities with “the most impact, such as quantum technology, artificial intelligence, submarine warfare, hypersonics and counter-hypersonics.”

Marles added: “But AUKUS is just one partnership among many. And when I look at the world, India stands out. He proposed a major role for India in US-backed military activity in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

First, he unilaterally declared Australia and India to be the “stewards of the Indian Ocean region” which “accounts for around half of the world’s container traffic and is a crucial conduit for global trade. “.

Second, reflecting the Biden administration’s request for Australia to step up its US-backed military and diplomatic activity against China, Marles said the Labor government would “put India at the heart of the approach.” Australian Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Marles specifically spoke about India playing a bigger role in Fiji and across the Pacific. He said the recent vague security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands was a source of concern for Australia, as any decision to establish a Chinese military base in the region “would significantly change the national security landscape of Australia”. Australia”.

Provocatively, Marles invoked the war in Ukraine to accuse China of “appalling behavior” during the border clashes between India and China. His comments ran through efforts by Beijing and New Delhi to settle their border disputes.

“The assault on Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control in 2020 was a warning we should all heed. Australia defended India’s sovereignty then and continues to do so today.

Marles said Australia was also “worried about the growing relationship between China and Russia”, including joint military exercises in the Pacific. In this context, it was important for democracies to protect the “rules-based order” that had provided “stability and prosperity” since World War II.

The so-called “rules-based order” is that maintained by the United States and its allies since the last World War, which established American hegemony over the Indo-Pacific.

Marles called for increased military exercises, cooperation and “interoperability” between India and Australia, and suggested a reciprocal military access agreement, allowing aircraft and ships from both countries to use each other’s facilities. It would elevate the “comprehensive strategic partnership” struck between Modi and former Liberal-National Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2020.

In a joint statement, Marles and Singh, India’s defense minister, welcomed “the increasing diversity and frequency of exercises and defense exchanges” between India and Australia. They pledged to strengthen “supply chain resilience” and ties between defense “industrial bases” in the two countries. They were “looking forward to India’s participation in the Australian exercise Indo Pacific Endeavor in October 2022”.

Despite Marles’ efforts, however, the joint statement makes no mention of China or Russia. The Indian ruling class has long relied on Russia for military hardware and has growing trade volumes with China, as do many Asian countries.

On the same day Marles concluded his trip to India, Modi attended the 14th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit, joining leaders of other members, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who hosted the virtual event.

The summit issued a statement that the leaders supported talks between Russia and Ukraine, effectively cutting off the escalating war between the United States and NATO against Russia.

Marles’ visit was one of many pro-American missions undertaken swiftly by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and senior ministers since the government was sworn in less than five weeks ago on May 23. These have included trips to the Quad Summit in Tokyo, the Shangri-la Forum, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Pacific Island States.

Marles’ allegations against China, while not new, put an end to media claims that a brief meeting he had with China’s defense minister on the sidelines of the Shangri- The represented a breakthrough in the diplomatic freeze between the two countries over the past three years.

Far from seeking a ‘reset’ of relations with China, Australia’s capitalism’s biggest export market, the Albanian government is demonstrating its commitment to a potentially catastrophic US-led war against China to reassert global domination of Washington.

This week, Albanese will take part in the NATO summit, which will focus on expanding the military alliance’s operations from the war against Russia to confrontations with China in the Indo-Pacific. Albanese will also travel to Paris to cement relations with France, a major nuclear power that retains colonies across the Pacific. In addition, he was invited to visit Ukraine to highlight the involvement of his Labor government in the movements against Russia and China.


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