Singapore, June 11 (agency) US Defense Secretary Lloyd James Austin said on Saturday that China is continuously strengthening its position along the borders with India. He reiterated that the US stands with its friends as they defend their rights amid Beijing’s “forced war situation” and an “aggressive stance” on territorial claims. At the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Austin said China was aggressively pursuing its territorial claims in the South China Sea and pursuing its illegal maritime plans. “Further west we see Beijing consolidating its position along the borders with India,” he said. The Indian and Chinese armies have been in a standoff along the border in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, when the two sides clashed in the Pangong Lake area. China is building other infrastructure like roads and residential areas along the border areas with India. China also has border disputes with various countries in the Indo-Pacific region such as Vietnam and Japan. “We stand firm in our mutual defense commitments,” Austin reassured. His remarks come after a top US general has said that some defense structures being built by China near the border with India in Ladakh are “worrisome”. He described Chinese activities in the region as “eye-opening”. Austin said that the US is fully prepared to deal with any aggression in the future. “We also stand with our friends who are defending their rights amid China’s forced war and aggressive stance on territorial claims,” he said.