US ‘deliberate to help India’ towards China after Doklam

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 12

In a classified document made public after just two years, the US said its Indo-Pacific strategy had a particular focus on India. The objective was to accelerate India’s rise by building a strong defence ties and also by offering diplomatic, military and intelligence support to help address continental challenges, such as the border dispute with China.

Washington’s Indo-Pacific vision in 2018

  • Donald Trump-led US had in 2018 planned to build an alliance with India against China, a year after the Doklam tension between the Asian neighbours
  • The 10-page document explains the need to align the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US with the visions of India, Japan and Australia

In other words, the US had taken a strategic decision to build an alliance with India against China in 2018, when the document was prepared. This happened a year after the India-China confrontation in Doklam and two years before both armies clashed violently in eastern Ladakh in mid-2020.

The 10-page document, which explains the need to align US’ Indo-Pacific strategy with those of Australia, India and Japan, was released surprisingly early rather than after 30 years. Partly redacted, it sets out the Trump administration’s strategy for Indo-Pacific that was developed by the US National Security Council.

The four members of the Quad – India, Australia, Japan and the US – had elevated their discussions to the level of foreign ministers in 2019, a year after the US had prepared the document followed by a second ministerial in Tokyo last year.

The military part of the strategy sets out three aims – (i) deny China sustained air and sea dominance inside the first island chain in a conflict; (ii) defend the first-island-chain nations, including Taiwan; and (iii) dominate all domains outside the first-island-chain.

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