Hillary Clinton uses Perth visit to urge Australian-Indian naval exercises

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 3:52am

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged Australia yesterday to increase its military ties with India, including joint navy exercises, but added that Washington also supported the peaceful rise of China.

Clinton and US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Perth on the eve of a bilateral security summit with their Australian counterparts.

Clinton said the United States had made a strategic priority of supporting India in playing a larger role in Asian affairs.

"We would welcome joint Australia-Indian naval-vessel exercises in the future," she said.

"We look for ways to support the peaceful rise of China, to support China becoming a responsible stakeholder in the international community, and hope to see a gradual but consistent opening up of a Chinese society and political system that will more closely give the Chinese people the opportunities that we in the US and Australia are lucky to take for granted."

The US and Australia also want to increase US military access to the Australian naval base south of Perth, and to bombing ranges in the northern Outback, as part of the shift of US might to the Asia-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the summit would cover plans for co-operation on military aviation as well as warships.