The United States’ Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific, an extant policy document declassified and published last week by the outgoing Donald Trump administration, is mostly music to New Delhi’s ears. Assuming that “a strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance [to] China”, one of Washington’s objectives is to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and Major Defense Partner” and “solidify an enduring strategic partnership with India underpinned by a strong Indian military able to effectively collaborate with the United States and our partners in the region to address shared interests.” Becoming India’s preferred partner on security issues is one of the desired ends of the United States’ policy. Much of this has already been stated by US officials over the past two decades. But mere talk is cheap. The cold hard print of an apex policy document ought to make Washington’s intentions a lot more credible in New Delhi.
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