Secret US strategy to strengthen India against challenges from China
To strengthen India’s capacities and work with other like-minded countries and act as “a counterbalance to china”, a secret US strategy for the Indo-Pacific was framed in the year 2018. This strategy was framed so that countries like India could maintain the capacity to counter the challenges such as “border provocations” and access to cross-border Rivers from Beijing.
This secret US strategy was framed two years before the Indo-China military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This strategy mentions India more than 20 times and sees the country as “preeminent in South Asia” and taking on “the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security” while increasing engagement with Southeast Asia and expanding economic and defence cooperation with other US allies and partners.
The strategy is based on the assumption that a “strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China”. It also says that Washington is New Delhi’s “preferred partner on security issues.” The strategy states that China is a strategic competitor to the US intent on dissolving American alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
It also highlights how US will take action on several fronts. Be it diplomatic, military or intelligence, US will take action. It will to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and Major Defense Partner.”
The document is classified “secret” and “not for foreign nationals” and such documents usually remain secret for almost 3 decades. But on 5th January, under Trump’s administration, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien declassified the 10 page strategy with slight reactions. According to experts this was done to signal continuity of the US’s Indo-Pacific strategy to key partners such as India, Australia and Japan amid the change in administration in Washington.