A soon outgoing Trump Administration recently declassified a 10-page document, highlighting various strategies and objectives pertaining to the Indo-Pacific. These pertain to the American approach towards nations like China, North Korea and India and basically, the strategic framework of USA for the Indo-Pacific from 2018. The reason we are exploring this sensitive document is due to its emphasis on India. This ranges from strengthening India’s position in the Indo-Pacific to improving relations with the United States.
STRATEGIES PERTAINING TO INDIA
The main takeaway from this document regarding India, was prepping India to be a counterbalance to China. It uses the phrase “Desired End State” for India. Other key clauses in the document are as follows: –
- It wants the United States to be India’s preferred partner on security issues.
- The USA seeks to cooperate with India on Preserving Maritime Security and Counter Chinese Influence in South and South East Asia as well as other areas of mutual concern.
- The United States will help India in becoming a “Net Security Provider” in the Indo-Pacific. Also, focus will be on enhanced defense cooperation and interoperability. This would be achieved through inculcating a strong Indian military, that will collaborate with USA and regional partners.
- Another aim is to establish a greater leadership role for India in the EAST ASIA SUMMIT & ASEAN. This will be coupled with supporting India’s ACT EAST Policy and helping it become a leading global power. This would be done by highlighting the similarities of Indian Vision with American, Japanese and Australian ones.
- India will also receive American help in Dispute resolution. This will include addressing Continental Challenges (eg. Border Disputes with China) and Water Access (eg. China diverting Brahmaputra and other rivers).
All in all, through the document, the United States aims to support India via Military, Diplomatic and Intellectual channels. All in an attempt to make India into a counterbalance against China.
OBJECTIVES FOR OTHER NATIONS
Apart from India , this document only mentions its rivals. Thus, the other objectives mainly deal with Russia, China and North Korea.
- This document says Russia will continue to remain a marginal player in the Indo-Pacific, relative to India, USA and China.
- It says that China aims to dissolve American alliances and partnerships across the Indo-Pacific. The United States seeks to exploit all the vacuums and opportunities created by diminished bonds of China with other nations
- The Objective stated for North Korea involves convincing. The United States aims to convince the Kim Regime that the only path to its survival will be relinquishing its nuclear arsenal.
NSA Robert C O’Brien claims that this declassification was done ahead of time for a reason. It was to communicate to the people as well as to allies that America seeks to keep the Indo-Pacific free and open for the foreseeable future.