‘Strong India would act as counter-balance to China’

New Delhi, Jan 14 (FN Agency) The United States has made it’s policy clear that India is among the select few of its allies that Washington wants to encourage and strengthen to check-mate China in Indo-Pacific. A Strategy Document ‘The United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific’, de-classified by the White House, says ‘’a strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counter-balance to China’’.

It reflects the importance of supporting allies’ and partners’ complementary approaches to regional engagement. These approaches include India’s Security and Growth for All Regions A Free and Open Indo-Pacific policy, Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific concept, Australia’s Indo-Pacific concept, the Republic of Korea’s New Southern Policy, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, a statement issued by US National Security Advisor (NSA) Robert C. O’Brien said. The Framework Document says ‘’India’s preferred partner on security issues is the United States. The two cooperate to preserve maritime security and counter Chinese influence in South and South Asia.

India remains pre-eminent in Southeast Asia and other regions of mutual concern. India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China.’’ It says India remains pre-eminent in South Asia and takes the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security, increases engagement with Southeast Asia and expands its economic, defence and diplomatic cooperation with other US allies and partners in the region.’’ It also says the US objective in South Asia is to ‘’accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and a Major Defence Partner, solidify an enduring strategic partnership with India underpinned by a strong Indian military able to collaborate with the United States and our partners in the region to address shared interests.’’ According to the Document the US wants to ‘’build a stronger foundation for defence cooperation and inter-operability expand our defence trade and ability to transfer defence technology to enhance India’s status as a major defence partner, increase our cooperation on shared regional security concerns and encourage India’s engagement beyond the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), support India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and work with India towards domestic economic reform, and an increased leadership role in the East Asia Summit (EAS).

It also wants to ‘’Offer support to India through diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to help address continental challenges such as border dispute with China and access to water including the Brahmputra and other rivers facing diversion by China, support India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and its aspiration to be a global power highlighting its compatibility with the US, Australia and Japanese vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific The Document says the US wants to ‘’Build regional support for US-Indian Common Principles in the Indian Ocean, including unimpeded commerce, transparent infrastructure-debt practices and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes, Promote US-Indian energy cooperation across all sources and technologies to diversify India’s energy sources and supplies, partner with India on cyber and space security and maritime domain awareness, expand US-India intelligence sharing and analytic exchanges creating a more robust intelligence partnership. It says the US wants to work with India and Japan to help finance projects that enhance regional connectivity between India and countries of the region.