An internal document of the US government has pitched India as a key player in America’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific, acting as a counterbalance to China.
A “strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China”, the paper which was declassified this month by the outgoing Trump administration, says, suggesting that Washington is gearing up to be New Delhi’s “preferred partner on security issues” .
Declassified in the dying days of the Trump administration, the memo can be seen as a useful starting point for diplomats in both India and the US as the Biden administration takes charge, and gives a snapshot of how the outgoing presidency looked at Asia, China and India’s role in the Indo-Pacific.
Classified as “secret”, the memo on “US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific” was declassified by US National Security Adviser Robert C O’Brien on January 5.
Indo-Pacific and China
According to the memo, “accelerating India’s rise” is a key part of America’s strategy in the region, not only to thwart China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence,” but also to maintain the US’s “strategic primacy” in the region, according to a report by Axios, quoting the memo.
Interestingly, the report was written in 2018. Since then the friction between the US and China has only grown.