The US had formulated a strategy for the Indo-Pacific region two years before the deadlock over the border dispute over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) of eastern Ladakh began. According to the recently revealed US National Security Documents, it called for diplomatic and military support to India to resolve challenges such as border dispute with China. In early 2018, US President Donald Trump supported the strategy created by the National Security Council during 2017. A national security briefing prepared by the White House, which was described as ‘secret’ and ‘not for foreign nationals’, has surfaced. It will be released on Wednesday. Australia’s public service broadcaster ABC News on Tuesday acquired some documents related to it.
ABC News, citing documents, said the US had planned to support India through diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China. This led the US to accelerate India’s growth and capacity to serve as a net provider of security by building a strong base for defense cooperation and interoperability.
At the same time, it is also mentioned in the documents that along with Australia, India and Japan, America needs to improve the Indo-Pacific strategy. It calls for deepening America’s cooperation with Japan and Australia and forging a quadrilateral security relationship with India.
In the past three years, the US has signed three important defense agreements, including the sharing of sensitive military information in real time and transfer of sophisticated technology between the two countries at the 2 + 2 ministerial meeting. These agreements are the Communication Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), the Military Information Agreement and the Basic Exchange and Corporation Agreement (BECA). At the same time, in a recent farewell address, the outgoing US Ambassador Kenneth Juster specifically referred to these agreements and said that this had increased the bilateral defense partnership.
During the same event, Juster said that the US was ‘very supportive’ amid the India-China border deadlock, but declined to provide further details. He said that we both share a vision of the Indo-Pacific region and it is an inclusive vision that provides opportunities for all countries to develop and prosper.