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China warming up to India on the Australian veto

China has welcomed India's reported decision to reject Australia's request to join this year's Malabar naval exercises saying the security concerns of the different parties should be taken into account while holding such drills.

I have seen the relevant reports on the refusal by India for the invitation. I think India is also clear about the consideration behind this behaviour," Hua Chunying told the media, reacting to a report that India has rejected Australia's request to join as observer to avoid backlash from China.

Australia had sent in its request to join the naval exercises scheduled to be held in July in the Bay of Bengal as observer.

While we are happy to see normal dialogue and communications on security issues, we also hope that when conducting such operations, the parties can fully consider the security concerns of the different parties and also play a positive and constructive role in promoting regional peace and stability," Hua said.

The Malabar exercise started in 1992 with the US and India in the Indian Ocean. Since Japan joined in 2007, it has alternated between the West Pacific and the Indian Ocean. The three countries held their largest ever joint exercise off Japanese coast involving 11 vessels and over 8,000 personnel.

Chinese official news paper global times criticised the Malabar exercises saying that they are designed to target Beijing. Such a large-scale military exercise was obviously designed to target China's submarine activities in the East and South China Seas in recent years, promote the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific and cement the US presence in the region," an article in the state run Global Times said last year.

"Washington brought New Delhi and Tokyo into the exercise to relieve its pressure on patrolling Pacific and Indian Ocean due to overstretched military presence around the globe and tighten its grip on the Asia-Pacific region.

The sea lanes in both oceans are crucial for US allies Japan and South Korea since their crude consignments pass through these sea lanes. Crude consignments meant for Japan and South Korea from gulf countries pass through Indian Ocean, Malacca straits and reach their destinations through South China Sea.

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