Sunday, November 29, 2020

India can play a key role to counter China: US Senate report


A new report released by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday enlists India, along with Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan to play a decisive role in countering China in the Indo-Pacific.

The report said that the degree to which China can dominate the Indo-Pacific will have a direct impact on the ability to project power globally.

Since the Senate is likely going to be controlled by Republicans, the report could serve as a blueprint for the Joe Biden administration’s China policies. Biden has extensive foreign policy experience, having served twice as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The report, titled “The United States and Europe: A Concrete Agenda for Transatlantic Cooperation on China,” puts emphasis on boosting ties with European allies to counter China. Several European countries have their own Indo-Pacific strategy.

The European Union published a strategy to boost economic connectivity between Europe and Asia in 2018. France published a strategy in 2019, and called the region “crucial for global peace and security, multilateralism, the preservation of global public good, and world economic development and trade.” In September 2020, Germany published a new strategy. The UK’s upcoming Integrated Security and Defense Review will likely focus on the Indo-Pacific, as well.

The report noted that the US and India welcomed European participation to boost security in the region. Specifically, it said, “key regional actors like Japan, Australia, India, and ASEAN have also demonstrated their interest in a larger European role and increasingly hope for, and even expect, greater European contributions to prosperity, security, and good governance in the Indo-Pacific.”

The report stated that America has to work “with advanced democracies such as Japan, Australia, India, Canada and New Zealand” to find opportunities for collaboration on technology. This would help set baseline standards for technology, and “values that should be upheld in the usage of emerging technologies.”

Concerns about a rising China has been a key driver of Indo-US relations since at least the mid-2000s, though a strategic partnership between the countries has levelled up in recent years. Currently, the navies of India, US, Japan and Australia are in the middle of the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the northern Arabian Sea.

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