In his address to the US Congress on 22 June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called out Beijing for coercion, confrontation, and debt-trap diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific without naming China.
"We share our modest resources with those who need them the most. We build capabilities, not dependencies," the Prime Minister said.
While he did not name China, experts believe he was referring to the Chinese Communist Party's strategy of creating dependencies in smaller countries in the Indo-Pacific and Africa for geopolitical leverage.
He addressed the issue more directly in the latter part of his speech.
"The dark clouds of coercion and confrontation are casting their shadow in the Indo-Pacific," Modi told the US Congress, adding that ensuring stability in the region was "one of the central concerns" of the US-India partnership.
For over a decade, China has used both coercion and confrontation in the South China Sea to carve out the region in line with its economic and military interests, creating artificial islands and harassing smaller countries like the Philippines and Vietnam to make them give up their claims.
More recently, it has employed coercion and debt trap diplomacy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), including western Africa, for strategic benefits.
In this region, China has financed economically unviable projects, only to use the loans as a debt trap and leverage.
"We [India and the US] share a vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific, connected by secure seas, defined by international law, free from domination, and anchored in ASEAN centrality," Modi said.
"A region where all nations, small and large, are free and fearless in their choices, where progress is not suffocated by an impossible burden of debt, where connectivity is not leveraged for strategic purposes, where all nations are lifted by the high tide of shared prosperity," he added.
In his speech, the Prime Minister also mentioned the Quad, a grouping of India, the US, Australia, and Japan, which Beijing has dubbed as an 'Asian NATO' aimed at containing China.
"Our vision does not seek to contain or exclude but to build a cooperative region of peace and prosperity. We work through regional institutions and with our partners from within the region and beyond. Of this, the Quad has emerged as a major force of good for the region," he said.
Earlier, during his press conference alongside Prime Minister Modi, US President Joe Biden refused to retract his comments on President Xi Jinping, in which he labeled the Chinese leader as a dictator. Biden stood by his description of Xi, saying it was "the facts."
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