The US risked irking China today as it laid the ground for greater military co-operation between Australia and India.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was pushing forward with plans to use the northern Australian city of Darwin as a joint training hub for up to 2,500 marines.
Speaking ahead of a security summit in Australia, she added that it was a strategic US priority to have India playing a larger role in Asian affairs.
She welcomed "the burgeoning relationship between Australia and India" and more joint naval exercises between the two in the future.
China is suspicious of the two countries' military relationship.
Ms Clinton also took a swipe at China, saying the meeting with Australian PM Julia Gillard would look at ways to open up China's political system.
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