India which has a long-running land border dispute with China has expressed interest in patrolling the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), a move that will likely anger Beijing.

US Defence Secretary Dr. Ashton Carter being received by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in New Delhi on June 3, 2015. (Photo: IANS/PIB)
US Defence Secretary Dr. Ashton Carter being received by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in New Delhi on June 3, 2015. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

According to a US defense official, The US and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that could include the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea.

Washington wants its allies to unite against China’s aggressive stance in the Spratly Islands where tensions have risen after Beijing decided to claim the entire waterways by building seven artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Last year, India and the United States carried out naval exercises in the Indian Ocean along with the Japanese Navy, to ramp up its military ties.

According to a US defense official, the two sides had talks about possible joint patrols, and that both countries were hopeful of doing it within a year, the official told Reuters adding that the patrols would likely happen in both the Indian Ocean and the West Philippine Sea.

There was no immediate comment from China, which is on a week-long holiday for Chinese New Year.

The United States was asked by the Philippines to do joint naval patrols in the West Philippine sea, a US diplomat said this month was a possibility. -Ram Arciga

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