New Delhi: The White House on Thursday (January 14) released a declassified document asserting that India has the capacity to counter border provocations by China. The document, which runs into 10 pages, was recently declassified in part by US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.

Now posted on the White House website, the outgoing Trump administration’s ‘The Framework’ recognises that a free and open Indo-Pacific depends on robust American leadership.

The document said, “India maintains the capacity to counter border provocations by China,” adding “India remains preeminent in South Asia and takes the leading role in maintaining Indian Ocean security, increases engagement with Southeast Asia, and expands its economic, defence, and diplomatic cooperation with other US allies and partners in the region.” 

“A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China,” it further added.

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The policy framework document said that its objective is to accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security and major defence partner. It further said that the partnership would solidify an enduring strategic partnership with India underpinned by a strong Indian military able to effectively collaborate with the US and its partners in the region to address shared interests.

The US policy document also looks at expanding its support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and work with the country toward domestic economic reform and an increased leadership role in the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Among the actions proposed to support India’s “Act East Policy” and its aspiration to be a leading global power, the framework highlights India’s compatibility with the US, Japanese, and Australian vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

It also advocates building regional support for US-India Common Principles in the Indian Ocean, including unimpeded commerce, transparent infrastructure-debt practices, and peaceful resolution of territorial disputes.