Underscoring India’s growing importance in the world, the United States renamed its Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command on Wednesday.
"In recognition of the increasing connectivity between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, today we rename the US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command," US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said while speaking.
Secretary James N. Mattis, Secretary for @DeptOfDefense, announces the renaming of U.S. Pacific Command to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command to recognize the increasing connectivity between the Indian & Pacific Oceans and America's commitment to the #IndoPacific! pic.twitter.com/PXk8eeRoWW— U.S. Pacific Command (@PacificCommand) May 30, 2018
Speaking during a change of command ceremony, Mattis hit out at China for its predatory economic policies in the region. Criticising China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Mattis said, “the Indo-Pacific has many belts and many roads”.
"While we are prepared to face any who would seek to challenge America's resolve, our National Defence Strategy is not a strategy of confrontation," he said.
This development comes soon after the revival of the Quad, a grouping which includes India, Japan, the US and Australia. Mainly aimed at countering China’s growing assertiveness in the Indian Ocean, the group has upset Beijing.
In recent years, China has been increasing its presence in the Indian Ocean. Its predatory economic policies, which has pushed countries like Sri Lanka into a debt trap, have alarmed countries in the region.