Asia Reacts to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's Trip to India and the Philippines

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During his recent visit to the Asia-Pacific from April 9 - 18, 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton "Ash" Carter held a joint press conference with Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to announce that the United States and India have "agreed in principle" on finalizing a Logistical Support Agreement (LAS) and Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). He also revealed for the first time that the United States has been conducting joint naval patrols with the Philippines in the South China Sea.  

Click on a country to jump down to its specific reactions: China, India, Philippines

To view additional topics in the Asia Reacts to... series, scroll down or click here


"This move by the United States and the Philippines has poisoned relations between countries in the region, aggravated regional disputes, triggered tensions and undermined peace and stability in the South China Sea. It just goes to show who the real backstage planner of the militarization of the South China Sea is." - Lu Kang, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, People's Republic of China 

"The joint patrols between the United States and the Philippines in the South China Sea has led to militarization  in the region, which is harmful to regional peace and stability." - Chinese Defense Ministry statement

"The US is actually seeking to justify and expand its military presence in the Asia-Pacific through stirring up tensions in the South China Sea. It also aims to pursue maritime hegemony [...] and contain a rising China."


"India can become indispensable only as a political equal and whose services can blend seamlessly with the US." 

"So India need not hold back in its ties with US over worries regarding China. In fact, a solid US-India partnership will help evaporate misgivings on all sides. The lines will be clear." 

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government do not have a national mandate to push India into a situation where it sinks in a closer, deeper military alliance and becomes part of a larger operational design and requirement of the US in Asia and [the] Pacific and South China Sea." -  Anand Sharma, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha [Council of States, Upper House of Parliament of India] 

"India needn't sign America's template documents; instead, as it has done with the LSA [Logistics Supply Agreement], it should work with the US [...] and find the middle path that best suits its interests." 

"The good news is that the Narendra Modi government has the political self-confidence to sign an apparently controversial agreement with the United States. The bad news is that India, as a collective, has taken more than a decade to decide 'in principle' on a fairly straightforward agreement with America." 

"[US Secretary of Defense Ash] Carter talked of the US Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific and India's 'Act East' policy coinciding in the Indo-Pacific region [... but] while there is mention of the Indo-Pacific, the US emphasis remains primarily on SCS [South China Sea] and North Korea while India's strategic concerns especially along her western and north-western flank are grossly neglected." 

"It's a bolder India less afraid of power games: if you don't play, you can't win. A stronger relationship with the US improves the odds. Modi doesn't want India to sit out the game and hope for the best." 

"For India to play a level game with China, we need asymmetrical advantage. [...] This is where diplomacy comes in, and diplomacy comes with a price. In this case, the price of the benefits of US technology is not too high." 

"Sure, the US wants to build up India and its military [] share the burden of regional security. Yes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Act East' policy aligns with the Obama administration's 'rebalance to Asia.' Even so, most insiders sum up the strategic relationship thus: convergence to the east, divergence to the west."


Author debates claims made by H.E. Hermenegildo C. Cruz in the op-ed "What's magnificent about withdrawal of US bases?" on the detriments of closing the US bases in 1992. 

"We believe that the People's Republic of China through its statements misunderstands or perhaps does not properly appreciate the purpose of our activities with the United States. There are to ensure freedom of navigation in the region which benefits all nations because it allows the free, unhampered flow of trade which is to the benefit of all economies in the region." - Manuel Quezon III, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary, Philippines 

"It is taught in any course in diplomacy that we live in a lawless world. A country must have adequate arms to defend its territorial integrity. A defenseless country invites aggression. When the 12 senators voted to oust the US bases in 1992, they should have taken the compensatory steps to increasing the defense budget." 

"Our relationship with the US is something that will definitely not deteriorate in the coming years, given our shared history. However, it promotes a dependence [...] that a sovereign and independent nation like the Philippines shouldn't tolerate." 

Commentator cautions the candidates in the Philippines 2016 Election about how to proceed on the Philippines' bilateral relationship with the United States. 

Additional Topics in the Asia Reacts to... Series

Secretary of State John Kerry's Historic Visit to Hiroshima
Donald Trump's Comments on Possible Nuclear Armament of Japan and South Korea
 Nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Donald Trump's First Foreign Policy Speech
President Barack Obama's First Visit to Vietnam 
President Barack Obama's Historic Visit to Hiroshima 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Fourth Visit to the United States
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Deployment 
2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions 
 President Barack Obama's Final Trip to Asia
First Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election 
Second Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election 
Final Presidential Debate of the 2016 US Election
 Election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States
President-Elect Donald Trump's Talks with Asian Leaders 
The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump
President Donald Trump's Executive Order on the Trans-Pacific Partnership 
US Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord 
 President Donald Trump's First Visit to Asia

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