China is the “biggest security anxiety” for Australia as it is seeking to shape the world in a way that was not seen before, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Thursday.
Mr Marles, on a four-day visit to India, also said India has similar security concerns and that Australia stands in solidarity with New Delhi over its border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
The Australian minister expressed concern about growing defence and security cooperation between China and Russia, suggesting that it could have implications for the region.
Mr Marles, who is also Australia’s Defence Minister, said both New Delhi and Canberra are strongly committed to expanding defence and security ties as his country sees India as “completely central” to its world view.
“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,” he said.
India and Australia are working closely together to build relationship economically but also in the context of defence, Mr Marles said.
In an apparent reference to the Galwan Valley clashes in eastern Ladakh over two years back, the Australian Deputy Prime Minister said his country stands in solidarity with India.
“China is seeking to shape the world around us in ways that were not seen before. We are experiencing particularly recently in the last couple of years more assertive Chinese behaviour in respect of that,” he said.
“It is really important that we live in a world where there is a rules-based order, where disputes between countries are resolved as per a set of rules and in a peaceful way,” Mr Marles said.
Referring to expanding defence and military cooperation between China and Russia, he expressed apprehensions about its impact and said it is very important to maintain peace in the world.