Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday, 23 June, that China's "appalling" behaviour in the South China Sea was similar to what India faced at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Speaking at the Australian High Commission in Delhi, Marles, who is also Australia's defence minister, stated, "We have seen that in the South China Sea and with India along the LAC two years back, the appalling behaviour with Indian soldiers. We stand in solidarity with India in respect of that incident (Galwan). For us, we are experiencing that in the South China Sea," news agency ANI reported.
Marles added that the fact that China was attempting to settle border disputes through "power" instead of rules was a major concern. "China is seeking to shape the world around it in ways that we have not seen before and that has evolved over the last decade. In the last few years, we are seeing a more assertive China," he said.
He also said that China was Australia's "biggest security anxiety."
"China is our biggest security anxiety and so is for India. At this moment it is really important that we are reaching out. We are friends exchanging notes. We are working closely to build our relationship in terms of economic and defence together," Marles said.
'Invited Defence Minister Rajnath Singh To Enhance Defence Ties': Marles
Speaking on the bilateral relationship between India and Australia, the deputy PM said that both countries shared common values like democracy and the rule of law.
"We also share geography. Australia is an Indian ocean country and we have security ties and much economic activity in the region. Indian-Australian is the fastest growing community. We believe we are on the cusp of change," Marles added.
Speaking on the defence ties between the two countries, he said, "We had a couple of P-8 flights between Australia and India. We want to see a greater frequency of activity in operations and exercises. The Indian Air Force will be taking part in Exercise Pitch Black in August."
Marles also added that he had invited Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for a meeting to promote greater engagement between the armed forces of the two countries, as per ANI.
He also underlined that Australia and India had worked closely together to maintain a rules-based world order.
'India's Position on Ukraine Is Its Internal Matter'
Further, Marles commented on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, saying that food and energy security were being impacted because of it.
Speaking on the middle path taken by India with respect to the war, he said, "We have seen China and Russia's practical relationships, so we are very mindful of that. For democracy, it is very important to maintain peace in the world. The position India takes on Ukraine is a matter for India."
(With inputs from ANI.)