US Shifting Military to Face Chinese Threat to India: Pompeo

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In this file photo taken on December 26, 2019, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar address a joint press conference in New Delhi- PTI

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asian nations is one of the reasons America is reducing its troop presence in Europe and deploying them to other places.

Pompeo made the remarks in response to a question at the Brussels Forum that he had addressed virtually.

When asked why the US had reduced the number of troops in Germany, Pompeo said that if US troops were no longer there, it was because they were being moved to other places.

He said the actions of the ruling Chinese Communist Party meant there were “threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia and the South China Sea challenge.’ ‘We are going to make sure the US military is postured appropriately to meet the challenges,’ he said.

Last week Pompeo criticised the Chinese Army for ‘escalating’ the border tension with India and militarising the strategic South China Sea. He also described the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) as a ‘rogue actor.’ In a scathing attack on the Chinese government, Pompeo said that the Communist Party of China wants to undo all the progress the free world has made through institutions like the NATO and adopt a new set of rules and norms that accommodate Beijing.

‘The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has escalated border tensions with India, the world’s most populous democracy. It’s militarising the South China Sea and illegally claiming more territory there, threatening vital sea lanes,’ Pompeo said, a day after he expressed deep condolences to India on the death of 20 soldiers in violent clashes with the PLA troops at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh on June 15.

Earlier this month, Pompeo has that China’s actions, be it on the India border, or in Hong Kong or in the South China Sea, have been part of the behaviour of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing in the recent past.

China has been fast expanding military and economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region, triggering concern in various countries of the region and beyond.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.

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