NEW DELHI : Two points with regard to the Shangri-La dialogue that concluded earlier this week in Singapore: India’s absence, which was odd given that this is the premier strategic forum in the Indo-Pacific. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did not attend, why it was not clear.
The other was the tough line articulated by China’s Defence Minister Gen. Wei Feng-He, whether on Ukraine or on India. In fact, India’s absence left the field free for China to make claims that had no basis in fact, including that Beijing was not to blame for the clashes two years ago in Ladakh that has brought the bilateral relationship to a low point. It would appear that China sees no purpose in bettering ties with India.
The Shangri-La Dialogue also saw Japan articulate a tough line on China without naming it. Tokyo is going to step up defence spending and will also reach out to its East Asian neighbourhood to better balance China’s inroads into the region.
Tune in for more in this conversation with Rahul Roy-Chaudhury of the IISS.