USA again focusing on South China Sea and tries to sell F18 to India

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says the United States will “compete vigorously” with China’s actions in the South China Sea if needed.

Washington again challenged Beijing’s increasing maritime dominance in the region, mainly over its vast territorial claims and militarization of islands in strategic waters.

Washington would continue to support Association of Southeast Asian Nations members to maintain regional security.

The USA said it will to uphold alliances with Australia, New Zealand and India and insisted the US was not asking smaller countries to choose between China and the US.

In what appeared to be a symbolic move signalling India’s growing importance, the US military renamed its Pacific Command the US Indo-Pacific Command.

Boeing sees two-year wait for a possible India fighter jet deal. India could buy 110 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. India wants at least 85% of the order to be built locally. The deal is likely to be at least $15 billion. Boeing said in April that it would partner with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and Mahindra Defence Systems Ltd to manufacture the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India at a new facility, which can also be used for other requirements.