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A strong India would act as ‘counterbalance’ to China: U.S

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

A strong India would act as ‘counterbalance’ to China: U.S:


The Trump administration has declassified a sensitive document on the U.S. strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific’ from 2018.

  • The document outlines objectives and strategies with regard to China, North Korea, India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Declassified document outlines objectives on China:

As per the document, The U.S.’s first national security challenge are:

  1. Maintaining “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region and promoting a “liberal economic order”.
  2. Stopping China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence”.
  3. Ensuring that North Korea does not threaten the U.S. and
  4. Advancing U.S. economic leadership globally.

Objectives towards India:

  • The U.S. aims to help India become a net security provider in the region and solidify a lasting strategic partnership with India.
  • It plans to achieve via enhanced defence cooperation and interoperability;
  • Working with India “toward domestic economic reform”, and
  • Greater leadership roles for India in the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.

Act-East policy in the document:

The U.S. aims to support India’s “Act East” policy and “its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the U.S., Japanese and Australian vision” of the Indo-Pacific.

  • A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China, is one of the underlying assumptions of the strategy.
  • China aims to dissolve U.S. alliances and partnerships across the region. China will exploit vacuums and opportunities created by these diminished bonds.
  • On Russia, it says the country will “remain a marginal player” in the region relative to the U.S., China and India.
  • On North Korea, a stated U.S. objective is to, “Convince the Kim regime that the only path to its survival is to relinquish its nuclear weapons.”

The reason for the early declassification of the document:

  • To communicate to the American people and to our allies and partners, the enduring commitment of the U.S. to keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open long into the future.

Significance of declassification:

  • It is an attempt by some in the outgoing administration to make their mark on policy clear and public, but it’s not a document that speaks to tremendous strategic foresight.
  • There’s a considerable bit of dissonance across this document, however, in its professed goal of spreading American and liberal values and the complete lack of any language on human rights.


Prelims Link:

  1. Indo- Pacific vs Asia- Pacific.
  2. BRICS.
  3. SAARC.
  4. South China sea.

Mains Link:

Maintaining “the U.S. strategic primacy” in Asia-Pacific is a challenge. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.