China welcomes India-US 2+2 talks; silent on security pact
Beijing, Sep 7: A wary China on Friday welcomed the first 2+2 Dialogue between India and the US but remained silent on the landmark security pact under which Indian military will have access to critical and encrypted American defence technologies.
The Communications, Compatibility, Security Agreement (COMCASA) was signed on Thursday after the 2+2 talks External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.
The COMCASA will allow India to receive high-end military communications equipment from the US and will also help get real-time encrypted information from the US.
Asked about China's reaction on the Indo-US talks and COMCASA agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, "I have seen the reports about the 2+2 consultation between the United States and India."
"China is happy to see the normal development of bilateral relations between the US and India and hopes that they will do more to contribute to regional peace and stability in the process of developing bilateral relations, she said.
She, however skirted any response to the question on India and US signing the COMCASA.
On the India-US call for maritime freedom in the Indo-Pacific region Hua said, "About the security navigation in the sea, we uphold the legal rights entitled in the international law and we also hope parties can do real things to ensure freedom of navigation."
During the the 2+2 talks, India and the US expressed commitment to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The 2+2 Dialogue took place at a time when China's People's Liberation Army was flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region.
China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the area.
China has recently deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-surface missile systems in the disputed South China Sea amid frequent forays by US naval and surveillance aircraft over the region to assert the freedom of navigation.