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India, US should consider joint the East Sea patrols: John McCain

29/02/2016


India, US should consider joint the East Sea  patrols: John McCain

WASHINGTON: Days after criticising China for acting like a bully in its neighbourhood, top Republican Senator John McCain today said "it is a very good time" for India and the US to announce that they are "considering" joint maritime patrols in the disputed East Sea.


However, McCain felt that the time is not ripe for actual joint patrols by India and the US in the seaway which has been the focus of a bitter dispute between China and its neighbours Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei as the Chinese have claimed almost the whole of the East Sea (South China Sea) resulting in overlapping claims with the other nations. 

McCain attributed this to Indian public opinion which he noted is not ready for such an action. 

"I would lean towards it (India-US joint patrols in East). But you have to smooth the path before you just announce it. I think, it is a very good time to announce that you are considering it," McCain, Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters during a breakfast meeting with the Defence Writers Group. 

"I think, right now, we would have to prepare Indian public opinion," McCain said adding that any decision in this regard would be a "presidential" one. 

McCain was one of the first top American leaders to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he assumed office in 2014. 

"I am a great fan of Mr Modi. I think, he is exercising leadership that is commensurate with the size and influence of India," he said heaping praise on the Indian premier. 

"I believe that Mr Modi is probably one of the most prominent leaders that has emerged from India in my lifetime," he said when asked about the India-US defence relationship. 

McCain asserted that there is a great area of defence cooperation between India and the US. 

"That does not mean a NATO, that does not mean a formal military alliance. Do not take me wrong. I understand India's public opinion," he said. 

"But it does mean cooperation, such as joint exercises, such as training, such as search and rescue, all the kinds of things that improve our military and diplomatic ties and others," McCain said. 

(indiatimes.com)

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