A secret US strategy for the Indo-Pacific framed in 2018 noted India as “preeminent in South Asia” and a country taking on “the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security,” reports Hindustan Times.
The document advocates strengthening India's capacities to address the challenges emanating from China, including the border dispute.
It says that the US will take action on several fronts, including diplomatic, military and intelligence, to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and Major Defense Partner.”
According to the document, “the US will build a stronger foundation for defense cooperation and interoperability; expand our defense trade and ability to transfer defense technology to enhance India’s status as a Major Defense Partner; increase our cooperation on shared regional security concerns and encourage India’s engagement beyond the Indian Ocean Region”.
Measures outlined in the document to strengthen India’s capacities also include US’s support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group which was blocked by China.
On the other hand, the document sees China as a strategic competitor to the US. It says that China circumvents international rules and norms with an intent to dissolving American alliances and partnerships.
The 10-page strategy was declassified by the Trump administration’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on 5 January.
Just as envisaged in the document, the Indo-US ties have reached unprecedented levels. India has signed three out of four foundational defence agreements including the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), the General Security of Military Information Agreement, and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).
Both India and US are also planning for formalization of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, a group of four democracies namely India, Australia, Japan and the USA.
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