INDIA AND US REBALANCING STRATEGY FOR ASIA-PACIFIC – ANALYSIS
Arun Sahgal (IDSA)
Eurasian Review, July 10, 2012
The construct of Indo–US relations in the Asia-Pacific region is to be seen against the backdrop of the United States increasingly looking upon India and its growing influence as an alternative to Chinese hegemony in the region. While most countries such as Australia, Japan and the smaller South-East Asian countries do hold strategic relevance for America’s Asia-Pacific strategy, it is perhaps nuclear India with its growing economy destined to leap frog in the next two or more decades that currently tops the US priority list for its regional designs.
Despite the current hiccups and comments about the relationship losing steam, the Indo-US relationship has seen greater ascendancy on every account—economic, military, and strategic. This was underscored during the recent visit of the US Defense Secretary to New Delhi and followed by the Indo-US strategic dialogue, which appear to have provided new impetus to the relationship, particularly in outlining the future US vision for bilateral defence cooperation.
Outlining his concept of the US re-balancing strategy towards the Asia-Pacific region, the US Defense Secretary explained that the American military plans to expand its partnerships and presence in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia. It is within this arc that the US plans to redeploy the bulk of its naval forces including as many as six aircraft carriers by 2020. The perspective outlined also talked about combating shared challenges including ensuring open access to maritime, air space and cyber space domains as also challenges posed by radical ideologies, piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc.1
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