Singapore: US Secretary of Defence, Patrick Shanahan asserted that the United States is a country from the Pacific region and security of the Indo-Pacific region, is the highest priority for the United States. Shanahan warned that the United States is connected with the Indo-Pacific region in many ways and the United States has huge investments in the region and the countries from the region also need to make big investments for their security. The US Secretary of Defence who reprimanded China on the issues of the South China Sea and Taiwan warned that the United States is willing to compete with China, in this region.
The Indo-Pacific region should be free and open to everyone. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, announced last week that Japan would cooperate with the United States, India, Australia, the United Kingdom and France for this purpose. Before that, the US Naval Chief, Admiral John Richardson, during his visit to India, stressed on the issue of cooperation, between India and the United States, in the Indo-Pacific marine sector. In the last one year, the United States has taken rapid steps with many countries including India, for the security of the Indo-Pacific region and against this background, the statement of US Secretary of Defence Shanahan becomes significant.
Defence Ministers and senior defence officials from 14 countries, including the United States, China and Japan, are participating in the conference, Shangri-La Dialogue, being held in Singapore. Various issues related to the security of Asia and the Asia-Pacific region were discussed in the conference. US Secretary of Defence, Shanahan, right in the beginning of the speech informed about the US links with the Pacific region and announced the publication of the Indo-Pacific Strategy Report.
Secretary of Defence Shanahan, said that the United States has already released the Blue Print for the Indo-Pacific sector and clarified that its central principle is Free and open Indo-Pacific sector. He claimed that the countries from this region have achieved prosperity in economic, trade and other sectors, over the last seven decades and all the countries have benefited, based on this very principle. Shanahan targeted China, saying that some of these countries are acting against the values and principle of the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Secretary of Defence fired a salvo of criticism at China saying ‘Some countries are trying to rock the development and interests of the Indo Pacific region. These countries are trying to force other countries through various means. Even military force is being used for this purpose. The weaker countries are being pressurised by deploying advanced military systems in disputed regions, interfering in the internal matters of other countries, stealing military and social technologies and using financial might to make them dependent.’
Shanahan asserted that the United States will never tolerate these activities and will be ready to retaliate against it. Shanahan warned China, saying that the United States does not want a conflict. But the United States is fully aware that such conflicts can be averted, only if you can win a war. The United States will take care that no enemy will attain his political objectives fulfilled using the military might.’
At the same time, US Secretary of State also mentioned the increasing US movements and war exercises, in the Indo-Pacific region and the increasing contributions of India, Japan and Australia.