‘India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China’: US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific

A few days before it moves out of the White House, the Donald Trump administration has declassified a 10-page document on the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific. In fact, declassified by US National Security Advisor Robert O’ Brien and has been posted on the White House website, the document said India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China.

It also said a strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a “counterbalance” to China in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. “India’s preferred partner on security issues is the United States. The two cooperate to preserve maritime security and counter Chinese influence in South and Southeast Asia and other regions of mutual concern. India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China,” said, the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific.

India remains pre-eminent in South Asia and takes the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security, increases engagement with Southeast Asia, and expands its economic, defence and diplomatic cooperation with other US allies and partners in the region, the document said. “A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China,” the document said. The US and its partners on every continent are resistant to Chinese activities aimed at undermining their sovereignty, including through covert or coercive influence, it further said.

It added that its objective is to accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and major defence partner; solidify an enduring strategic partnership with India underpinned by a strong Indian military able to effectively collaborate with the US and its partners in the region to address shared interests.

The actions proposed by the framework include building a stronger foundation for defence cooperation and interoperability; expand defence trade and ability to transfer defence technology to enhance India’s status as a major defence partner; increase cooperation on shared regional security concerns and encourage India’s engagement beyond the Indian Ocean Region.

It also seeks to support India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and work with the country toward domestic economic reform and an increased leadership role in the East Asia Summit (EAS).

The framework calls for support to India through diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels to help address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China and access to water, including the Brahmaputra and other rivers facing diversion by China.

It also calls for promoting US-India energy cooperation across all sources and technologies to diversify India’s energy sources and supplies. “Partner with India on cyber and space security and maritime domain awareness. Expand US-India intelligence sharing and analytic exchanges by creating a more robust intelligence partnership,” said the document

The Framework also proposes to support India’s “Act East Policy” and its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the US, Japanese, and Australian vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific; and build regional support for US-India Common Principles in the Indian Ocean, including unimpeded commerce, transparent infrastructure-debt practices, and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes.