CDS brainstorms with Quad counterparts on China strategy

The gathering of top military commanders comes just before next week’s third Quad Leaders’ Summit hosted by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney …writes Ateet Sharma

In a significant meeting of the military chiefs of Quad countries that kicked off in California today, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan presented Indias views on fostering peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Hosted by Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Christopher Aquilino at Sunnylands in California, the Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue is also being attended by Japan’s Chief of Joint Staff General Yoshida Yoshihide and the Chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell.

“General Anil Chauhan CDS put forth India’s views in the 1st session ‘Deterrence Through Effective Partnerships’,” said Headquarters of Integrated Defence Staff.

The gathering of top military commanders comes just before next week’s third Quad Leaders’ Summit hosted by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney which will also witness the presence of PM Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida.

The Quad partners will be meeting immediately after the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima (May 19-21). Kishida has already extended an invitation to PM Modi for the summit where the leaders are expected to discuss common interests, including China’s rapidly increasing imprint in the Indo-Pacific region.

The extensive interactions will continue as, a few months later in September, India will host the leaders again for the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

The Sunnylands dialogue began just as the US Air Force wrapped up a bilateral fighter training exercise ‘Cope Thunder’ with the Philippine Air Force – the first since 1990 – at Clark Air Base on Luzon Island to strengthen the defence of the region with its allies and like-minded forces.

Interestingly, the Philippines Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo met Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the East and South China Seas.

Last week, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told the Senate Appropriations Defence Subcommittee that the international rules-based system that has kept great power peace since the end of World War II is under increasing stress.

Milley labelled China as the long-term geostrategic security challenge for the United States, emphasising that Beijing has publicly stated that it intends to be the regional hegemon in Asia within the next 10 years and to exceed the United States’ overall military capability by the mid-century.

“Chinese actions are moving it on a path toward potential confrontation with its neighbours and the United States. But, again, war with China is neither inevitable nor imminent,” said Milley.

As reported by, Washington has maintained that India remains a key pillar in US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region as it builds alliances and partnerships to the ongoing implementation of the US National Defence Strategy.

“The deputy secretary thanked NSA Doval for India’s leadership in the region and discussed avenues to deepen coordination between the US and Indian militaries to address the region’s increasingly contested strategic environment,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said after February’s meeting between National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and the US Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks in the US capital.

Admiral Aquilino, who visited India a month later, reaffirmed the India-US strategic partnership, noting that military cooperation between the two nations – who have shown a shared commitment to a resilient, rules-based international order that promotes a free and open Indo-Pacific for all – is at an all-time high.

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