America’s former envoy to the UN Nikki Haley and a powerful Republican lawmaker, Mike Waltz, have called for an alliance between India and the US that would allow both countries to maintain and expand their global strength amidst China’s aggressive postures in the region.
Waltz is a member on the powerful House Armed Services Committee, and Republican vice chair of the India Caucus.
“As a nuclear power with more than 1 million troops, a growing navy, a top-tier space programme, and a proven history of economic and military cooperation with the United States, India would make a strong ally,” Haley and Congressman Waltz wrote in the latest issue of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine.
“An alliance with India would allow both countries to maintain and expand their global strength. And together with Japan and Australia, it would enable the United States to form a real deterrent to potential terrorist threats in Afghanistan as well as counter China,” they said.
Arguing that post-withdrawal, it is only India which can effectively keep a watchful eye on Afghanistan, Haley and Waltz wrote that only New Delhi can keep track of China’s southern flank.
“India operates Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan, the only air base with the proximity to conduct counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan. With an alliance, India could allow us access to strategic bases to protect US interests in Afghanistan and the broader region,” they wrote.
“A US-India alliance would also give us an edge over China. Like the United States, India recognises that China is a rapidly growing threat. Not only is it attempting to capitalise on our withdrawal from Afghanistan, which goes against both the United States and India’s interests, China is also pressuring India on its own borders,” Haley and Waltz said.
The two Republican leaders said that a US-India alliance would give China pause before further expanding into Central and Southern Asia.
“And we’d be building on solid ground. Just this month, the U.S. military held joint exercises with hundreds of Indian soldiers in Alaska to strengthen cooperation and better prepare for cold, mountainous conditions like those in the China-India border region,” they wrote.
“An alliance would also recognise the region’s shifting geopolitical realities. China’s newly aggressive posture toward India is not by accident. It is part of a broader plan. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is emboldened after shoring up support from India’s longtime foe, Pakistan,” they said.
The border standoff between the Indian and Chinese militaries erupted on May 5 last year following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas and both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process in the Gogra area in August and in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in February.
China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea.
Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims.
Beijing is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
It has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.