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China largest security anxiety for Australia, India: Aus Dy PM

China largest security anxiety for Australia, India: Aus Dy PM

New Delhi: China is the "largest security anxiety" for Australia and India and Beijing's actions along the Line of Actual Control as well as in the South China Sea were reflective of its growing assertiveness, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday.

Marles, the first senior leader to visit India after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's centre-left Labor Party came to power last month, also said China has been attempting to shape the world in an unprecedented way.

He also said Australia sees India as "completely central" to its world view, and deeper defence and security cooperation between the two countries is absolutely crucial to protect the rules-based global order, including in the Indo-Pacific region.

"For Australia, China is our largest trading partner and so is for India... For Australia, China is our largest security anxiety. That is also the same for India. How to reconcile these two things is not obvious," he said at a media interaction on the fourth and final day of his visit to India.

"Our anxiety is that when you look at the Chinese behaviour, be it in the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or the South China Sea, what you are seeing is an assertive behaviour which seeks to challenge the established rules-based order which has been so important to the prosperity of the region," Marles said.

In that context, he said Australia sees its relationship with India as being "really important" in protecting the global rules-based order, adding that Chinese assertiveness is a matter of concern.

"We have seen it in respect of the Line of Actual Control. The incident that occurred a couple of years ago, where there was appalling behaviour towards Indian soldiers, we stand in solidarity with India in respect of that incident," he said referring to the Galwan Valley clashes in 2020.

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