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India and US grow closer against a backdrop of an expansionist China – strategy 2.0

Indo-U.S. relations have been the subject of interest for many policy analysts and with the emergence of an economic and military powerhouse in India, they have major implications for the United States and rest of the world. The last visit to White House by Modi, 2017 on the invitation of President Trump, had several visible outcomes with mechanisms to enhance trade and investment, particularly in infrastructure; new modalities to implement cooperation in energy, includ- ing nuclear and renewable energy; new approaches to de- fense trade, security and counter-terrorism collaboration; and new areas of cooperation between India and the United States in third countries.

Why is India Growing Wary of China?

With its growing economic clout—against the backdrop of a fumbling Russia—China has found new reasons and grounds to claim its right wherever it finds an easy target. Chinese claims over the territorial waters of Vietnamese, Philippines, Malaysian, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia have height- ened tensions with the South Asian nations. The reason for India to suddenly become more aggressive emerges from the history of an ugly spat. With a vexed border issue spiralling out of control and increasing claims over Arunachal Pradesh as its landmass and recently over Doklam, China lately has been making things difficult for India to remain at peace. The rapid inroads in the India Ocean by Chinese naval crafts and nuclear subs as part of its “String of Pearls” strategy to encircle India, has not gone unnoticed by Indian counter- strategists too, nor the covert support provided to North East Militants to destabilize India.

Catching Up to China

Since the emergence of Modi government, India as part of a strategic shift, has moved toward an assertive Act East Policy from a relatively subtle Look East Policy, to boost its engagement with its South Asian neighbours. At home, India has steadily given a go-ahead to $40 billion investment in defence invigoration including construction of 6 nuclear subs, a mountain division of 60,000 trained soldiers, bases in India and outside, all of it aimed to checkmate the Chinese tactics. Its two aircraft carriers are already patrolling the Indian Ocean region, a major deterrence against any Chinese intrusion; a third was recently launched on in June giving it an edge over China.

America’s Role in an Emerging India

The United States in the past 15 years has taken unprecedented measures to close the gap with India. U.S. ties with India — after a brief lull during the nuclear tests of 1998 and an ensuing sanction — have become more matured. India  and the United States had already inked a $3 billion defence deal for 22 Boeing Apache and 15 Chinook helicopters, the supply of the first lot is scheduled to begin by March 2019.India has also placed an order for an additional C 17 to add to its existing transport fleet of 10 C17s and 6 additional Lockheed Martin C-130 J to an existing squadron of 6 C -130 J and 6 additional P8I Poseidon anti-submarine warfare The United States and India have also signed a 10-year agreement for strategic cooperation keeping the rapidly changing geostrategic scenarios including plans to sign CISMOA.

By Dr. Punit Saurabh |Family Business & Entrepreneurship, Innovation Management

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