The already hot waters of the South China Sea seem to be heading for boiling point.
The U.S. and India have held talks on conducting joint naval patrols that may include the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. defense official has said, Reuters reports, in a move that would likely anger Beijing, which claims most of the waterway.
Here is more from Reuters
The U.S. defense official said the two sides had discussed joint patrols, adding that both were hopeful of launching them within the year. The patrols would likely be in the Indian Ocean where the Indian navy is a major player as well as the South China Sea, the official told Reuters in New Delhi on condition of anonymity.
The official gave no details on the scale of the proposed patrols.
A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Bill Urban, said the United States and India “continue to explore ways to deepen defense cooperation, including in the area of maritime security”, but no decisions had been made on joint patrols.
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In December, the issue of joint patrols came up when Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii, an Indian government source said.
“It was a broad discussion, it was about the potential for joint patrols,” said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
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