US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday attributed the move to reduce troops in Germany to facing threats in other countries, including the alleged Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asia.
While answering questions during a virtual conference, the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum, Pompeo said: "I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, so now threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines. We’re going to make sure we’re postured appropriately to counter the PLA (People's Liberation Army)".
US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of nearly 10,000 troops from Germany earlier this month, highlighting the European nation's "failure" to reach 2 percent of GDP payments for NATO and its "economic ties with Russia".
Secretary of State Pompeo noted that the decision to reduce troops was a part of a "long overdue strategic posture review of the US military".
While emphasising the importance of placing troops according to the current nature of conflicts, Pompeo spoke about the PLA's "provocative military actions" and "deadly border confrontations in India".
"I talked about the People’s Liberation Army’s provocative military actions. They include its continued aggression in the South China Sea, deadly border confrontations in India, an opaque nuclear programme, and threats against peaceful neighbours", Pompeo said.
India and China have been attracting international attention in view of the recent deadly border clash in the eastern Ladakh region. While India lost 20 soldiers, China is yet to reveal the number of its casualties.
The military build-up continues along the poorly demarcated Line of Actual Control between the two nations in Ladakh, despite both countries agreeing to de-escalate tensions during commander level talks to resolve the issue earlier this week.
On Thursday, the Indian Foreign Ministry claimed that the "Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control since early May", which is not in accordance with the provisions of various bilateral agreements between the two countries.