MARCH 12, 2016 BLOG
Herman Tiu Laurel/with research by Dang.
INDIA REJECTS JOINT U.S. PATROL IN SCS.
Joint military exercises among nations are a regular thing and it should not be taken as something against a certain nation or leaders. Although in this time and age where building up of tension are being used in order to create a scenario as a pretext to demonize or antagonize a certain leader.
Take for example Exercise Malabar, a trilateral naval exercise involving the United States, Japan, India as permanent partners. Originally only a bilateral exercise between India and the U.S., Japan became a permanent partner of the exercise in 2015. Past non-permanent participants are Australia and Singapore. The annual Malabar series began in 1992, and includes diverse activities, ranging from fighter combat operations from aircraft carriers, through Maritime Interdiction Operations Exercises.
Three exercises were conducted prior to 1998, when the Americans suspended exercises after India tested nuclear weapons. However, Washington renewed military contacts following the September 11 attacks when India joined President George W Bush's campaign against international terrorism.
In 2002, the exercises comprised basic passing maneuvers among naval vessels, anti-submarine exercises and replenishment-at-sea drills. (Source: Wikipedia)
This year, when the US military announced its military exercises with India and Japan, some reports made it appear that the said exercises will add tension in the South China Sea due to the proximity of the venue to China. Moreover, the fact that India will join, they build up an anti-China sentiment due to the alleged Chinese reclamation in the disputed area in the SCS.
The escalation of tension started with the prodding of US in the guise of 'freedom of navigation' but if we will analyze the geopolitics closely, China has every right to be the first one to invoke the freedom of navigation, particularly in the Strait of Malacca.
As George Friedman wrote in his article – "The South China Sea is an enclosed body of water. An archipelago of islands from the Strait of Malacca to the Philippines creates an enclosure with only narrow passages to the Pacific and Indian oceans. China depends on maritime trade, much of which passes through the South China Sea. China's dread is that it might face a blockade of the passages through the archipelago. A blockade, which the U.S. could readily impose, would be economically disastrous for China. This is not a likely scenario at the moment, but China must assume it is a possibility – a possibility of low likelihood, but massive impact."
There are too many chokepoints already, globally and if nations conducting military exercises will not be careful, any miscalculation and adventurism, a conflict may erupt and a global war might take place.
BUT JOINT PATROLS IS ANOTHER THING: INDIA SPURNS U.S.
This report from AnjanaPasricha datelined NEW DELHI— "India has ruled out participating in joint patrols in the South China Sea proposed by the United States….
"The proposal that the navies of Japan, Australia and India could join the U.S. in preserving freedom of navigation in the contested waters of South China Sea was voiced recently by chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry B. Harris….
"But within days, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said, "As of now, India has never taken part in any joint patrol; we only do joint exercises. The question of joint patrol does not arise."
Philippine mainstream media, particularly the Inquirer from which reports of the broadcast media are taken and echoed day and night, have not made a careful explanation to the Filipino audience about the difference between a "military exercise" and the "joint patrols" which makes a world of difference in the public's appreciation of the situation. ###