Amid plans for a new naval exercise in the Philippine Sea, US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris Jr. talked up the notion of reviving an effort to establish a naval coalition, including the US, India, Japan, and Australia, to confront China.
India had previously spurned the effort when it was proposed a decade ago, but with Admiral Harris hyping China as a “bully,” he believes he can sell the idea of broad collaboration with other Pacific naval powers.
The US has been keen to pick a fight with China over its South China Sea territorial claims, backing everyone else in the region so long as their claims conflict with China’s. The US seems keen to get other significant regional navies to help with the cost of hassling China about these disputes.
The US, India, and Japan are set to participate in the new Philippine Sea exercise, and Admiral Harris also talked up the idea of having several more exercises with India annually to enhance relations between the two fleets, with an eye toward joint patrols in the future.