Analysis US Releases Indo-Pacific Strategy: Analysis & Pointers

Parthu

Gessler
Team StratFront
Dec 1, 2017
1,092
2,251
25
Vizag, India
In the midst of his visit to Australia for a Foreign Ministerial meeting of QUAD nations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted out the Fact Sheet of the United States Indo-Pacific Strategy, the first such region-specific policy document released by the White House/National Security Council.


While the Secretary's tweet only contains the Fact Sheet which provides a quick, brief look at the points, the actual full 19-page document itself (linked below) provides a lot more context, detail & nuance:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/U.S.-Indo-Pacific-Strategy.pdf

This one line from the Conclusion section says quite a lot:

"We have entered a consequential new period of American foreign policy that will demand more of the United States in the Indo-Pacific than has been asked of us since the Second World War"

Delving into some of the stated objectives & goals, each followed by a little bit of analysis on my part...


1) QUAD & the wider Indo-Pacific

🇺🇸 🇮🇳 🇦🇺 🇯🇵


"The Quad...will advance work on critical and emerging technologies, driving supply-chain cooperation, joint technology deployments, and advancing common technology principles."

"...helping Indo-Pacific partners close the region’s infrastructure gap...As we do, we will promote resilient and secure global telecommunications, focusing on 5G vendor diversification and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology..."


2.PNG

It appears the general scope of the QUAD agenda (to include the now oft-repeated "Free & Open Indo-Pacific", maritime security, vaccine partnership, cyberspace & emerging technologies regulation, space, etc.) has largely remained on the same track as it was left by the meeting of national Leaders in Washington DC last year.

Note how the part about QUAD talks about developing/deploying/setting the desired standards whereas the parts about the wider Indo-Pacific talk about the US 'promoting' the said secure standards. Simply put, the desired standards (which will likely underpin US strategic alignment with a given country) would be developed/determined by the QUAD countries and the rest of the Indo-Pacific will be expected to adopt them and them alone - edging out Chinese alternatives in the process which could compromise said efforts. I've previously talked about these standards on the forum before:



2) Australia & AUKUS

🇦🇺 🇬🇧 🇺🇸


"Through the AUKUS partnership, we will identify the optimal pathway to deliver nuclearpowered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date"

astute-class-nuclear-submarine-e1632947126764.jpg

Nothing new on this front, but then again it hasn't been that long since the initial AUKUS announcement. I don't expect a lot of new information to go on at least until after the 18-month assessment period is over - and to an extent after the Australian federal elections, because I'd reckon it'll be interesting to see how the new government (assuming it won't be another term of the incumbent dispensation) looks at AUKUS.


3) Japan & South Korea

🇯🇵 🇰🇷


"Nearly every major Indo-Pacific challenge requires close cooperation among the United States’ allies and partners, particularly Japan and the ROK...Increasingly, we will seek to coordinate our regional strategies in a trilateral context."

PYH2017010614940034100_P4.jpg

At some level, I can't help but believe the US is concerned about the possibility of fractures developing along the Japan-South Korea relationship, especially should one of them choose to equip themselves with nuclear weapons in this decade or the next (particularly ROK). The US seems to be more interested than ever in making sure any differences are addressed and any fears are allayed, all under the watchful eye of the US - whilst keeping both of these industrialized powers focused on the common threat of DPRK & China.


4) ASEAN

🇧🇳 🇰🇭 🇮🇩 🇱🇦 🇲🇾 🇲🇲 🇵🇭 🇸🇬 🇹🇭 🇻🇳


"Strengthen an Empowered and Unified ASEAN"

"The United States is making new investments in U.S.-ASEAN ties, including by hosting ASEAN leaders for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit—the first-ever to be held in Washington, D.C. We are committed to the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum, and will also seek new ministerial-level engagements with ASEAN. We will implement more than $100 million in new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives. We will also expand bilateral cooperation across Southeast Asia, prioritizing efforts to strengthen health security, address maritime challenges, increase connectivity, and deepen people-to-people ties."

"We will work with ASEAN to build its resilience as a leading regional institution and will explore opportunities for the Quad to work with ASEAN. We will also support closer ties between South Asian partners & ASEAN."

1280px-Map_of_ASEAN_member_states.svg.png

It would appear US is intent on using any & all means available with itself, G7 & QUAD to keep ASEAN tethered to a US-led global order, and away from Chinese influence. It would also appear that they wish to use QUAD as a platform to allay any fears in SE Asia regarding the increasing pace of arms race/buildup of both tactical & strategic (read: nuclear) capabilities to ASEAN's East as well as South.


4) India

🇮🇳


"Support India's Continued Rise & Regional Leadership"

"We will continue to build a strategic partnership in which the United States and India work together and through regional groupings to promote stability in South Asia; collaborate in new domains, such as health, space, and cyber space; deepen our economic and technology cooperation; and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific"

"...Steadily advance our Major Defense Partnership with India and support its role as a net security provider"


"We recognize that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, active in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force of the Quad and other regional fora, and an engine for regional growth and development."

EnKQq2FVEAM4-VH.jpg

Lots of interesting stuff here. I don't know if that's only because I'm from India, or because its the only big country in the region which still has a very evolving relationship with the US, as opposed to Alliance partners like Australia, ROK or Japan which have been on more or less the same footing with the US for the better part of the last half-century.

Firstly "Major Defence Partner" was a designation created for India by the Obama administration and continued by Trump & now Biden. It was created as a means of getting India on equal footing with Alliance partners of the US in terms of accessing & purchasing defence technologies, despite India still remaining officially a non-Ally. In more common parlance over the years it has often meant "Ally but not on paper".

Secondly, going over the wording of these statements, it would appear that India would continue maintaining an independent defence & nuclear weapons posture, but with strategic convergence of goals between itself & the US and its Allies. The US expresses no concerns regarding India's increasing ways & means of deploying nuclear weapons on far-off targets as part of its efforts to build a full spectrum of deterrence against China, including survivable means like SSBNs, and in fact appears to support it - in stark contrast to the open demand contained within the same document toward the complete de-nuclearization of North Korea, though on paper both India & DPRK are non-signatories to the NPT and by definition 'illegitimate' nuclear powers. Though this distinction with regard to nuclear affairs (both unofficially & on paper) was actually made back in 2005 by way of the '123 Agreement' under Bush Jr.

Thirdly, the repeated statement of phrases such as "Regional Leadership" and more importantly "Net security Provider" - terms not used (at least in this document) to describe any of the other Alliance partners of the US are interesting for two reasons: A) it signals a willingness (or desire) on the part of US leadership to let India function as what has been oft described by strategic policy watchers as the US' "Deputy Sheriff" (a term I don't really agree with) in the Indian Ocean Region, and perhaps beyond in future (South China Sea). B) It indicates India has been more or less successful in convincing the US to give it a free hand in dealing with threats that more directly concern its immediate neighbourhood (like Myanmar) in a way that's more amicable to India's interests...such as continuing to work with the Military junta that toppled Suu Kyi's democratic government in that country.

Additionally, it would certainly appear that CAATSA is now more or less off the table for good. Even if some watered-down version were to be applied for sake of optics lest the double-standards become apparent, its unlikely to be anything that hinders the defence relationship on the ground in a major way, though diplomatically it will still cause irreparable damage (hence the hesitance to begin with). To quote James O'Brien, the US President's nominee for Coordinator of Sanctions Policy: "...there are important geostrategic considerations, particularly with [unintelligible] relationship to China..."

All in all, it will be interesting to see how the US-India defence/strategic relationship develops in the coming decades.

That said - this document puts to rest any doubts anyone may have regarding the US' lack of interest in the region, a lack of desire to address the Chinese threat, or a desire to seek a more isolationist foreign policy...at least until the next US Presidential election cycle.

++++


@Ashwin @Gautam @Milspec @suryakiran @BMD @randomradio @Amarante
 
Last edited:

Parthu

Gessler
Team StratFront
Dec 1, 2017
1,092
2,251
25
Vizag, India
An Addendum to the India section of my above posts:​

Considering this policy document specifically talks about the Indo-Pacific, several other matters are left out. What would also be interesting is how the US-India relationship interfaces with the 'Mid-East Quad' that's developing with Israel & the UAE joining the common core of US & India - in an apparent bid to shape events in the Middle Eastern region in the coming decades.

India lies at the geographical inflection point between the areas of responsibility of the US INDOPACOM and US CENTCOM. Plus has considerable interests in the GCC (a third of the UAE's population are Indian expats) and an interest in continuing a deep strategic relation with Israel. So that's one more thing to watch - could this Mid-East Quad take on a more or less similar strategic role as the Indo-Pacific one?

Who could be the target or common foe that this grouping would seek to contain or deal with? Chinese influence in the Mid-East? Iran? Ensuring the security of trade routes that go through the area as a result of the Abraham Accords? Maybe in future, Turkey?

On that note, the UAE's Ambassador to India recently had this to say:

“The newly formed West Asian Quad between the UAE, India, Israel and the US is an offspring of the Abraham Accord… I firmly believe that the multilateral approach is more critical than ever to respond to increasingly complex threats to global economic growth and stability,”


My previous takes on the Mid-East QUAD:

 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,968
10,949
India
An Addendum to the India section of my above posts:​

Considering this policy document specifically talks about the Indo-Pacific, several other matters are left out. What would also be interesting is how the US-India relationship interfaces with the 'Mid-East Quad' that's developing with Israel & the UAE joining the common core of US & India - in an apparent bid to shape events in the Middle Eastern region in the coming decades.

India lies at the geographical inflection point between the areas of responsibility of the US INDOPACOM and US CENTCOM. Plus has considerable interests in the GCC (a third of the UAE's population are Indian expats) and an interest in continuing a deep strategic relation with Israel. So that's one more thing to watch - could this Mid-East Quad take on a more or less similar strategic role as the Indo-Pacific one?

Who could be the target or common foe that this grouping would seek to contain or deal with? Chinese influence in the Mid-East? Iran? Ensuring the security of trade routes that go through the area as a result of the Abraham Accords? Maybe in future, Turkey?

On that note, the UAE's Ambassador to India recently had this to say:

“The newly formed West Asian Quad between the UAE, India, Israel and the US is an offspring of the Abraham Accord… I firmly believe that the multilateral approach is more critical than ever to respond to increasingly complex threats to global economic growth and stability,”


My previous takes on the Mid-East QUAD:


The US has tied us into partnerships from the East and the West. And our weak politicians will eventually fall for it like every other bozo before them did with the SU.
 

Amarante

Well-Known member
Jun 22, 2021
386
354
La Défense, France
In the midst of his visit to Australia for a Foreign Ministerial meeting of QUAD nations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted out the Fact Sheet of the United States Indo-Pacific Strategy, the first such region-specific policy document released by the White House/National Security Council.


While the Secretary's tweet only contains the Fact Sheet which provides a quick, brief look at the points, the actual full 19-page document itself (linked below) provides a lot more context, detail & nuance:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/U.S.-Indo-Pacific-Strategy.pdf

This one line from the Conclusion section says quite a lot:

"We have entered a consequential new period of American foreign policy that will demand more of the United States in the Indo-Pacific than has been asked of us since the Second World War"

Delving into some of the stated objectives & goals, each followed by a little bit of analysis on my part...


1) QUAD & the wider Indo-Pacific

🇺🇸 🇮🇳 🇦🇺 🇯🇵


"The Quad...will advance work on critical and emerging technologies, driving supply-chain cooperation, joint technology deployments, and advancing common technology principles."

"...helping Indo-Pacific partners close the region’s infrastructure gap...As we do, we will promote resilient and secure global telecommunications, focusing on 5G vendor diversification and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology..."


View attachment 22731

It appears the general scope of the QUAD agenda (to include the now oft-repeated "Free & Open Indo-Pacific", maritime security, vaccine partnership, cyberspace & emerging technologies regulation, space, etc.) has largely remained on the same track as it was left by the meeting of national Leaders in Washington DC last year.

Note how the part about QUAD talks about developing/deploying/setting the desired standards whereas the parts about the wider Indo-Pacific talk about the US 'promoting' the said secure standards. Simply put, the desired standards (which will likely underpin US strategic alignment with a given country) would be developed/determined by the QUAD countries and the rest of the Indo-Pacific will be expected to adopt them and them alone - edging out Chinese alternatives in the process which could compromise said efforts. I've previously talked about these standards on the forum before:



2) Australia & AUKUS

🇦🇺 🇬🇧 🇺🇸


"Through the AUKUS partnership, we will identify the optimal pathway to deliver nuclearpowered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date"

View attachment 22732

Nothing new on this front, but then again it hasn't been that long since the initial AUKUS announcement. I don't expect a lot of new information to go on at least until after the 18-month assessment period is over - and to an extent after the Australian federal elections, because I'd reckon it'll be interesting to see how the new government (assuming it won't be another term of the incumbent dispensation) looks at AUKUS.


3) Japan & South Korea

🇯🇵 🇰🇷


"Nearly every major Indo-Pacific challenge requires close cooperation among the United States’ allies and partners, particularly Japan and the ROK...Increasingly, we will seek to coordinate our regional strategies in a trilateral context."

View attachment 22733

At some level, I can't help but believe the US is concerned about the possibility of fractures developing along the Japan-South Korea relationship, especially should one of them choose to equip themselves with nuclear weapons in this decade or the next (particularly ROK). The US seems to be more interested than ever in making sure any differences are addressed and any fears are allayed, all under the watchful eye of the US - whilst keeping both of these industrialized powers focused on the common threat of DPRK & China.


4) ASEAN

🇧🇳 🇰🇭 🇮🇩 🇱🇦 🇲🇾 🇲🇲 🇵🇭 🇸🇬 🇹🇭 🇻🇳


"Strengthen an Empowered and Unified ASEAN"

"The United States is making new investments in U.S.-ASEAN ties, including by hosting ASEAN leaders for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit—the first-ever to be held in Washington, D.C. We are committed to the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum, and will also seek new ministerial-level engagements with ASEAN. We will implement more than $100 million in new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives. We will also expand bilateral cooperation across Southeast Asia, prioritizing efforts to strengthen health security, address maritime challenges, increase connectivity, and deepen people-to-people ties."

"We will work with ASEAN to build its resilience as a leading regional institution and will explore opportunities for the Quad to work with ASEAN. We will also support closer ties between South Asian partners & ASEAN."

View attachment 22734

It would appear US is intent on using any & all means available with itself, G7 & QUAD to keep ASEAN tethered to a US-led global order, and away from Chinese influence. It would also appear that they wish to use QUAD as a platform to allay any fears in SE Asia regarding the increasing pace of arms race/buildup of both tactical & strategic (read: nuclear) capabilities to ASEAN's East as well as South.


4) India

🇮🇳


"Support India's Continued Rise & Regional Leadership"

"We will continue to build a strategic partnership in which the United States and India work together and through regional groupings to promote stability in South Asia; collaborate in new domains, such as health, space, and cyber space; deepen our economic and technology cooperation; and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific"

"...Steadily advance our Major Defense Partnership with India and support its role as a net security provider"


"We recognize that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, active in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force of the Quad and other regional fora, and an engine for regional growth and development."

View attachment 22735

Lots of interesting stuff here. I don't know if that's only because I'm from India, or because its the only big country in the region which still has a very evolving relationship with the US, as opposed to Alliance partners like Australia, ROK or Japan which have been on more or less the same footing with the US for the better part of the last half-century.

Firstly "Major Defence Partner" was a designation created for India by the Obama administration and continued by Trump & now Biden. It was created as a means of getting India on equal footing with Alliance partners of the US in terms of accessing & purchasing defence technologies, despite India still remaining officially a non-Ally. In more common parlance over the years it has often meant "Ally but not on paper".

Secondly, going over the wording of these statements, it would appear that India would continue maintaining an independent defence & nuclear weapons posture, but with strategic convergence of goals between itself & the US and its Allies. The US expresses no concerns regarding India's increasing ways & means of deploying nuclear weapons on far-off targets as part of its efforts to build a full spectrum of deterrence against China, including survivable means like SSBNs, and in fact appears to support it - in stark contrast to the open demand contained within the same document toward the complete de-nuclearization of North Korea, though on paper both India & DPRK are non-signatories to the NPT and by definition 'illegitimate' nuclear powers. Though this distinction with regard to nuclear affairs (both unofficially & on paper) was actually made back in 2005 by way of the '123 Agreement' under Bush Jr.

Thirdly, the repeated statement of phrases such as "Regional Leadership" and more importantly "Net security Provider" - terms not used (at least in this document) to describe any of the other Alliance partners of the US are interesting for two reasons: A) it signals a willingness (or desire) on the part of US leadership to let India function as what has been oft described by strategic policy watchers as the US' "Deputy Sheriff" (a term I don't really agree with) in the Indian Ocean Region, and perhaps beyond in future (South China Sea). B) It indicates India has been more or less successful in convincing the US to give it a free hand in dealing with threats that more directly concern its immediate neighbourhood (like Myanmar) in a way that's more amicable to India's interests...such as continuing to work with the Military junta that toppled Suu Kyi's democratic government in that country.

Additionally, it would certainly appear that CAATSA is now more or less off the table for good. Even if some watered-down version were to be applied for sake of optics lest the double-standards become apparent, its unlikely to be anything that hinders the defence relationship on the ground in a major way, though diplomatically it will still cause irreparable damage (hence the hesitance to begin with). To quote James O'Brien, the US President's nominee for Coordinator of Sanctions Policy: "...there are important geostrategic considerations, particularly with [unintelligible] relationship to China..."

All in all, it will be interesting to see how the US-India defence/strategic relationship develops in the coming decades.

That said - this document puts to rest any doubts anyone may have regarding the US' lack of interest in the region, a lack of desire to address the Chinese threat, or a desire to seek a more isolationist foreign policy...at least until the next US Presidential election cycle.

++++


@Ashwin @Gautam @Milspec @suryakiran @BMD @randomradio @Amarante
Thank you 🙏
i was missing the « standards//norms’s war » aspect of the quad.

For the rest, i share the most of your thoughts: India as a “defence partner” vs an “ally” (some are more allies than others: with some the US share technos, but not with others) ; or their acceptance of an “Indian independence posture” as long as it converges with goals of the US and its allies ; etc.
 
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Parthu

Gessler
Team StratFront
Dec 1, 2017
1,092
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Vizag, India
Thank you 🙏
i was missing the « standards//norms’s war » aspect of the quad.

This will have interesting implications on the 3GPP grouping as well.

4 out of the 7 organizational partners of the 3GPP (majority) are from the 3 QUAD nations of US, India & Japan.

3gpp.JPG



The organizational partners are representatives of the Governments of the major countries involved in Telecom & telecom/internet-related equipment, and set the telecommunication protocols for each successive generation of standards (right now 5G, very soon 6G).

I believe the US & other major countries opposed to China are pretty serious about not letting the CCP set the standards in cutting-edge Tech & chart its own World Order, the damage they've done and the amount of control they've already amassed is bad enough. But in a globalized world, even the Superpower cannot act alone in these matters - and that's where the QUAD comes in.

It's starting with 5G/Telecom....next order of business seems to be Semiconductors. After that, stuff like AI, Machine Learning and Quantum computing...the QUAD would more than likely seek to insert itself into these foundational techs which will shape the world economy for the next century, and try to steer it in a way that's convenient/beneficial for the major 'Democratic' nations.

+++

Even last year, I would never have imagined QUAD would evolve into a platform like this, that seeks to control emergent techs. I thought it would remain the usual Maritime Security grouping that does some posturing & the annual Naval exercise and nothing else. I think we're just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential of this group & its influence over the INDOPAC (...and the world, if these developments are any indication).

I'm also kinda surprised at India's presence in this, considering its officially not an Ally of the US. Anyway, I'd rather we be in it, and have a say in how things go & be in a position to take advantage of the evolving situations, than being outside it.

The Chinese Communist dictatorship will last as long as they keep their promise to the Chinese people - surrender your freedoms, and in return gain economic prosperity. If the CCP is to fall, it would do so when it's forced to renege on that promise. When the Chinese people begin to lose what they have gained - if the Democratic form of Government, with all its imperfections, is to survive - that has to happen.

Here's hoping that groups like the QUAD can begin to engineer that fall.

Just my 2 cents.
 

RISING SUN

Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
13,191
6,135
In the midst of his visit to Australia for a Foreign Ministerial meeting of QUAD nations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted out the Fact Sheet of the United States Indo-Pacific Strategy, the first such region-specific policy document released by the White House/National Security Council.


While the Secretary's tweet only contains the Fact Sheet which provides a quick, brief look at the points, the actual full 19-page document itself (linked below) provides a lot more context, detail & nuance:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/U.S.-Indo-Pacific-Strategy.pdf

This one line from the Conclusion section says quite a lot:

"We have entered a consequential new period of American foreign policy that will demand more of the United States in the Indo-Pacific than has been asked of us since the Second World War"

Delving into some of the stated objectives & goals, each followed by a little bit of analysis on my part...


1) QUAD & the wider Indo-Pacific

🇺🇸 🇮🇳 🇦🇺 🇯🇵


"The Quad...will advance work on critical and emerging technologies, driving supply-chain cooperation, joint technology deployments, and advancing common technology principles."

"...helping Indo-Pacific partners close the region’s infrastructure gap...As we do, we will promote resilient and secure global telecommunications, focusing on 5G vendor diversification and Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology..."


View attachment 22731

It appears the general scope of the QUAD agenda (to include the now oft-repeated "Free & Open Indo-Pacific", maritime security, vaccine partnership, cyberspace & emerging technologies regulation, space, etc.) has largely remained on the same track as it was left by the meeting of national Leaders in Washington DC last year.

Note how the part about QUAD talks about developing/deploying/setting the desired standards whereas the parts about the wider Indo-Pacific talk about the US 'promoting' the said secure standards. Simply put, the desired standards (which will likely underpin US strategic alignment with a given country) would be developed/determined by the QUAD countries and the rest of the Indo-Pacific will be expected to adopt them and them alone - edging out Chinese alternatives in the process which could compromise said efforts. I've previously talked about these standards on the forum before:



2) Australia & AUKUS

🇦🇺 🇬🇧 🇺🇸


"Through the AUKUS partnership, we will identify the optimal pathway to deliver nuclearpowered submarines to the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date"

View attachment 22732

Nothing new on this front, but then again it hasn't been that long since the initial AUKUS announcement. I don't expect a lot of new information to go on at least until after the 18-month assessment period is over - and to an extent after the Australian federal elections, because I'd reckon it'll be interesting to see how the new government (assuming it won't be another term of the incumbent dispensation) looks at AUKUS.


3) Japan & South Korea

🇯🇵 🇰🇷


"Nearly every major Indo-Pacific challenge requires close cooperation among the United States’ allies and partners, particularly Japan and the ROK...Increasingly, we will seek to coordinate our regional strategies in a trilateral context."

View attachment 22733

At some level, I can't help but believe the US is concerned about the possibility of fractures developing along the Japan-South Korea relationship, especially should one of them choose to equip themselves with nuclear weapons in this decade or the next (particularly ROK). The US seems to be more interested than ever in making sure any differences are addressed and any fears are allayed, all under the watchful eye of the US - whilst keeping both of these industrialized powers focused on the common threat of DPRK & China.


4) ASEAN

🇧🇳 🇰🇭 🇮🇩 🇱🇦 🇲🇾 🇲🇲 🇵🇭 🇸🇬 🇹🇭 🇻🇳


"Strengthen an Empowered and Unified ASEAN"

"The United States is making new investments in U.S.-ASEAN ties, including by hosting ASEAN leaders for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit—the first-ever to be held in Washington, D.C. We are committed to the East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum, and will also seek new ministerial-level engagements with ASEAN. We will implement more than $100 million in new U.S.-ASEAN initiatives. We will also expand bilateral cooperation across Southeast Asia, prioritizing efforts to strengthen health security, address maritime challenges, increase connectivity, and deepen people-to-people ties."

"We will work with ASEAN to build its resilience as a leading regional institution and will explore opportunities for the Quad to work with ASEAN. We will also support closer ties between South Asian partners & ASEAN."

View attachment 22734

It would appear US is intent on using any & all means available with itself, G7 & QUAD to keep ASEAN tethered to a US-led global order, and away from Chinese influence. It would also appear that they wish to use QUAD as a platform to allay any fears in SE Asia regarding the increasing pace of arms race/buildup of both tactical & strategic (read: nuclear) capabilities to ASEAN's East as well as South.


4) India

🇮🇳


"Support India's Continued Rise & Regional Leadership"

"We will continue to build a strategic partnership in which the United States and India work together and through regional groupings to promote stability in South Asia; collaborate in new domains, such as health, space, and cyber space; deepen our economic and technology cooperation; and contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific"

"...Steadily advance our Major Defense Partnership with India and support its role as a net security provider"


"We recognize that India is a like-minded partner and leader in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, active in and connected to Southeast Asia, a driving force of the Quad and other regional fora, and an engine for regional growth and development."

View attachment 22735

Lots of interesting stuff here. I don't know if that's only because I'm from India, or because its the only big country in the region which still has a very evolving relationship with the US, as opposed to Alliance partners like Australia, ROK or Japan which have been on more or less the same footing with the US for the better part of the last half-century.

Firstly "Major Defence Partner" was a designation created for India by the Obama administration and continued by Trump & now Biden. It was created as a means of getting India on equal footing with Alliance partners of the US in terms of accessing & purchasing defence technologies, despite India still remaining officially a non-Ally. In more common parlance over the years it has often meant "Ally but not on paper".

Secondly, going over the wording of these statements, it would appear that India would continue maintaining an independent defence & nuclear weapons posture, but with strategic convergence of goals between itself & the US and its Allies. The US expresses no concerns regarding India's increasing ways & means of deploying nuclear weapons on far-off targets as part of its efforts to build a full spectrum of deterrence against China, including survivable means like SSBNs, and in fact appears to support it - in stark contrast to the open demand contained within the same document toward the complete de-nuclearization of North Korea, though on paper both India & DPRK are non-signatories to the NPT and by definition 'illegitimate' nuclear powers. Though this distinction with regard to nuclear affairs (both unofficially & on paper) was actually made back in 2005 by way of the '123 Agreement' under Bush Jr.

Thirdly, the repeated statement of phrases such as "Regional Leadership" and more importantly "Net security Provider" - terms not used (at least in this document) to describe any of the other Alliance partners of the US are interesting for two reasons: A) it signals a willingness (or desire) on the part of US leadership to let India function as what has been oft described by strategic policy watchers as the US' "Deputy Sheriff" (a term I don't really agree with) in the Indian Ocean Region, and perhaps beyond in future (South China Sea). B) It indicates India has been more or less successful in convincing the US to give it a free hand in dealing with threats that more directly concern its immediate neighbourhood (like Myanmar) in a way that's more amicable to India's interests...such as continuing to work with the Military junta that toppled Suu Kyi's democratic government in that country.

Additionally, it would certainly appear that CAATSA is now more or less off the table for good. Even if some watered-down version were to be applied for sake of optics lest the double-standards become apparent, its unlikely to be anything that hinders the defence relationship on the ground in a major way, though diplomatically it will still cause irreparable damage (hence the hesitance to begin with). To quote James O'Brien, the US President's nominee for Coordinator of Sanctions Policy: "...there are important geostrategic considerations, particularly with [unintelligible] relationship to China..."

All in all, it will be interesting to see how the US-India defence/strategic relationship develops in the coming decades.

That said - this document puts to rest any doubts anyone may have regarding the US' lack of interest in the region, a lack of desire to address the Chinese threat, or a desire to seek a more isolationist foreign policy...at least until the next US Presidential election cycle.

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@Ashwin @Gautam @Milspec @suryakiran @BMD @randomradio @Amarante
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Amarante

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Jun 22, 2021
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La Défense, France
(ET, jul.17)
An INFRUS alliance for building nuclear deterrence against China (paywall)


The next 'big' idea in the India-US partnership is here. It's about helping India get a nuclear edge against China's growing arsenal. The latest idea is just as path-breaking as the 2005 India-US nuclear deal, which helped legitimise New Delhi's weapons' programme and ended the era of nuclear apartheid. But India's rivals haven't been sitting idle since, and the country could do with another bout of friendly intervention in the nuclear realm.

The new deal is envisaged as an Indo-French collaboration with American blessings to help India strengthen its sea-based nuclear deterrent, improve its nuclear attack submarine forces and counter future Chinese incursions in the Indian Ocean. The key would be helping India to develop a better and quieter naval nuclear reactor*, something France could do since the French make compact, efficient and quiet beasts compared to India's Arihant. But the US would have to give a nod. The resulting India-France-US cooperation (Infrus) would mimic the recent Australia-Britain-US (Aukus) grouping in breaking barriers.


Nuked Judgements
The idea behind the idea, of course, is to 'balance' China whose ballistic missiles have become highly accurate over time, putting Indian nuclear storage sites at greater risk. Another serious problem is deficiency of high-yield nuclear weapons in India's inventory, mainly because of past political misjudgements and scientific failures. GoI's decision to prematurely end nuclear testing deprived the country of credibly demonstrating its firepower vis-a-vis China.

The unorthodox idea of Infrus has been proposed by Ashley J Tellis in an exhaustive new report on the nuclear capabilities of China, India and Pakistan. In 'Striking Asymmetries: Nuclear Transitions in Southern Asia', [Carnegie, jul.18, p.256] Tellis, who was also one of the main protagonists of the Indo-US nuclear deal, takes stock of where things stand in terms of stockpiles, delivery systems and nuclear doctrines. His latest Infrus idea will likely agitate India-sceptics in Washington, but they are less voluble today.

To track changes, Tellis uses 1998 as a benchmark, the year both India and Pakistan tested weapons and crashed the exclusive nuclear club, and when China still believed in a form of 'minimum deterrence'. Today, the geopolitics are entirely different with Xi Jinping at the helm in Beijing. The US-China rivalry is sharper and India-China relations under deep stress. Not only does India face an increasingly aggressive China, it faces a more ambitious Pakistan that is playing the old terrorism game in the shadow of new weapons. Contrary to expectations, nuclear weapons haven't extinguished Pakistan's sense of insecurity.

Tellis has sobering news for India. By his calculations, India is in third place in the Southern Asian triangle with China at number one as the dominant nuclear power, and Pakistan in second place while moving as fast 'to build the largest, most diversified, and most capable nuclear arsenal possible' (unsurprising if you follow the fervid declarations of Pakistani officials). Both China and Pakistan have improved the quality and yields of their nuclear weapons while India has lagged behind. Indian policymakers haven't felt the need to get into an arms race.

Tellis calls India's nuclear restraint truly 'remarkable' in the face of two unfriendly neighbours. India is probably the only nuclear weapons state today that does what it says. While that's admirable, India should address its disadvantages because unlike in the past, both India-China and US-China relations are in 'deep trouble' and New Delhi might face a future where a more robust nuclear war chest may be needed.


Deterrence to Detente
Enter Infrus. Just as the US helped France develop a 'staged thermonuclear weapon' to counter the Soviets during the Cold War, Paris can help New Delhi since India today is 'in an analogous position' in the US competition with China. US support for developing India's nuclear sea legs is critical because without Washington's nod, Paris is unlikely to sign on.

Washington should 'endorse and midwife' Infrus because in the end, balancing Chinese power ultimately benefits the US in Asia. Since India and the US both want to constrain China's quest for dominance, strengthening India's nuclear deterrent is critical.

The logic that drove Joe Biden to create Aukus and allow sharing of nuclear technology with Australia - to balance China - also applies to India even though New Delhi is not a treaty ally, Tellis argues. In addition, the US must prepare for the day when India might conduct nuclear tests because of a 'supreme emergency', and Washington must start working out how the US administration of the day might use its waiver authority and not sanction India.

There's also some good news. India, China and Pakistan still consider nuclear weapons primarily as political instruments meant to deter the other, rather than for actual use. This is most clearly the case with India - Tellis calls India a 'satisfied' power. Even Pakistan's charged nuclear rhetoric (leaving India 'no place to hide') and a declared willingness to use tactical or battlefield nukes are designed more to bring in foreign powers to restrain India than for actual war fighting.

None of the three countries has inserted nuclear weapons into conventional military forces for actual use. Pakistan's nukes remain unassembled, mobile and under strict control of the Strategic Plans Division. The case with China is the same, except a section of its nuclear arsenal is now always on alert.

In the past, China got security on the cheap by sharing nuclear technology with Pakistan to hem India in. Scores of US officials and academics bought China's feigned indifference to India at face value throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The Western narrative on China today is more realistic.

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*(and then, what about your BARC 190MW PWR, with tech. consultancy from Russia?)