New Delhi: Defence sources said on Friday that the Indian Navy has been closely monitoring the movement of a Chinese research vessel from the instance it entered the Indian Ocean region.
China top threat to US
The U.S. National Defence Strategy 2022 was released on October, 27. As per the release, the Pentagon will advance its Major Defence Partnership with India to “enhance its (India’s) ability to deter People’s Republic of China (PRC) aggression and ensure free and open access to the Indian Ocean Region.”
Meanwhile, according to the new Pentagon defence strategy, China remains the greatest security challenge for the United States despite Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the threat from Beijing will determine how the US military is equipped and shaped for the future.
While the document released Thursday says that conflict with China “is neither inevitable nor desirable,” it describes an effort to prevent Beijing’s “dominance of key regions” – a clear reference to its aggressive military buildup in the South China Sea and increased pressure on the self-governing island of Taiwan.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks
“The (Department of) defense will advance our Major Defense Partnership with India to enhance its ability to deter PRC (People’s Republic of China) aggression and ensure free and open access to the Indian Ocean region,” said the new document that was released by the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin here.
According to the unclassified version of the report, China is “pacing challenge” and Russia “is an acute threat”. The strategy has been developed to meet the challenges being posed by China and it takes into account the capabilities of its global friends and allies.
“We are heavily invested in making sure that China does not attempt to use force to, for instance, take Taiwan,” a senior defense official told reporter here.
The Biden Administration, another defense official said, realised pretty quickly and clearly that the most comprehensive and serious challenge for US national security is the Chinese coercive and increasingly aggressive endeavour to refashion the Indo Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and authoritarian preferences.
The document also highlights the acute threat Russia poses to the US.
“Recent events of course, very much underscore the acute threat posed by Russia. The national defense strategy took Russia’s intentions and actions into serious consideration as the strategy was being developed,” the second defense official said.
US watching Russia closely
The US is ofcourse closely watching Russia’s increasing alignment with China and as such, the department’s current efforts and future initiatives account for Russia even as it addresses the Chinese challenge.
“Additionally, I would know that we see the PRC and Russia posing more dangerous all domain challenges to the safety and security of the US homeland even as we need remain vigilant in the face of persistent homeland threats from terrorist groups. Meanwhile, other persistent threats including North Korea, Iran, a violent extremists continue to pose challenges to the homeland, to our allies and to our partners,” said the defense official.
Responding to a question, the official said there has been “tremendous growth in the relationship” since the 2005 nuclear deal agreement between the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then US President George Bush.
There’s a lot of really good opportunity that’s in the defense, but also really beyond that space as well,” the official said. QUAD members, the official said, do see the security environment in the region in very similar ways.
“We are all investing in our forces and trying to find new and innovative ways for us to collaborate,” said the official.