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An enlarged AUKUS would fuel confrontation in the Asia-Pacific: China Daily editorial

Responding to a question about the United Kingdom House of Commons Defence Select Committee raising the possibility of expanding AUKUS to include India and Japan at a routine briefing on Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called it an attempt to “provoke military confrontation through military cooperation”.

The trilateral security partnership established by the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia is typical Cold War thinking, which has increased the risks of nuclear proliferation while exacerbating an arms race in the Asia-Pacific, sabotaging the peace and stability of the region. Such a move will not only complicate the security situation in the region, but also bring additional strategic uncertainty to it.

While the defense authorities in London are keen on increasing the UK’s military presence in the “Indo-Pacific” and engaging more closely with security partners in the region, their allegedly peace-oriented moves are actually sowing the seeds of antagonism in the region and worsening every stakeholder’s security environment.

Aside from the inevitable consequence of deepening strategic distrust and escalating tensions, the vision of an enlarged AUKUS may not bear the fruit its masterminds anticipate.

Considering Tokyo’s conspicuous enthusiasm for international and regional security mechanisms aimed at containing China, there may be little doubt about the Japanese government embracing such a proposal. New Delhi, however, may find itself in a dilemma over joining such a security alliance.

India has indeed strayed far from its longstanding previous policy of non-alignment. As a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with the US, Australia and Japan, it has shown that it is keeping a wary eye on the so-called China threat.

Both AUKUS and Quad are nothing but geopolitical tools of the US to contain China. London has advocated the formation of a NATO-like military alliance in the “Indo-Pacific”. The idea of AUKUS enlargement has also been read as an attempt by the UK to engineer a Quad+AUKUS framework.

Although there has been increasing momentum to tilt the Quad more toward security issues, its broad agenda, ranging from COVID-19 to climate change and to science and technology, enables it to maintain the impression that it is less about geopolitical confrontation and more about collaboration between and among “like-minded” countries.

By joining the explicitly anti-China AUKUS, however, New Delhi would be voluntarily tying itself to the West’s anti-China chariot. For all their border disputes and skirmishes, direct confrontation with China would not be in the best interest of India.

source: chinadaily