Share common outlook with India on the Indo-Pacific: US
The US has been focusing on the Indo-Pacific to forge closer security ties with India and to ensure a rules-based order and freedom of navigation in the area ranging from its western coast to the western shores of IndiaUpdated: Jun 03, 2019 23:51 IST
The US and India have a “common outlook” on the Indo-Pacific, and New Delhi’s “Act East” policy and the convergence of strategic interests are helping the two countries to build new partnerships within the extended region, according to a new report from the Pentagon.
The US has been focusing on the Indo-Pacific to forge closer security ties with India and to ensure a rules-based order and freedom of navigation in the area ranging from its western coast to the western shores of India, especially against the backdrop of growing assertiveness by China and its navy.
The “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report” of the US department of defense describes the region as a “priority theatre” and lays out a roadmap of preparedness, partnerships and creation of a networked region in which India is expected to take on a central role.
“The US and India share a common outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Both countries recognise the importance of the Indo-Pacific to global trade and commerce and acknowledge that developments in this region will shape the larger trajectory of the rules-based international order,” the report states.
The Indian Ocean offers unprecedented opportunity as it has some of the fastest growing economies and nearly 45,000 commercial vessels and two-thirds of global oil trade travel through its sea lanes. However, it is also grappling with security challenges such as terror, transnational crime, human trafficking and illicit drugs.
“To combat these challenges, the US seeks opportunities to broaden and strengthen partnerships with India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Nepal to respond to shared regional challenges,” the report states.
India’s “Act East” policy is making “significant security, economic and development investments to secure the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific”, it states. The US-India strategic partnership has strengthened significantly because of a convergence of strategic interests, and the two sides are building “new partnerships within and beyond the Indo-Pacific”, it
The US has taken several steps to boost security ties, including designating India a “major defence partner”, starting the 2+2 ministerial dialogue and the signing of the Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement to facilitate greater interoperability.
The US and India will conduct their first tri-service exercise this year and bilateral defence trade has grown to $16 billion since 2008.
Acting US defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a message that “geopolitical rivalry between free and repressive world order visions” is a primary concern for US national security. “In particular, the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, seeks to reorder the region to its advantage by leveraging military modernisation, influence operations and predatory economics to coerce other nations,” he added.
The Pentagon will “encourage China to engage in behaviours that maintain peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific and “that support – rather than undermine – the rules-based international order,” the report states.