U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific | UPSC

U.S Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific


A strong India would act as ‘counterbalance’ to China: U.S.

      WHY IN NEWS:

Declassified document outlines objectives on China



With days to go before its end, the Trump administration has declassified a sensitive document on the U.S. strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific from 2018.


The 10-page document outlines objectives and strategies with regard to China, North Korea, India and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region.


  • Maintaining “U.S. strategic primacy” in the region and promoting a “liberal economic order” while stopping China from establishing “illiberal spheres of influence” is the U.S.’s first national security challenge, as per the document.
  • The other two challenges are ensuring that North Korea does not threaten the U.S. and advancing U.S. economic leadership globally.

With regard to India, one of the ‘desired end states’ of the U.S.’s strategy is for the U.S. to be India’s preferred partner on security issues. 

  • For the two countries to “cooperate to preserve maritime security and counter Chinese influence” in South Asia, Southeast Asia and other regions of “mutual concern”.
  • Several sentences in the document — including in sections on India — have been redacted(edited).

U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific

U.S Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific


  • The U.S. aims to help India become a net security provider in the region.
  • It reaffirms to solidify a lasting strategic partnership with India “underpinned by a strong Indian military able to effectively collaborate with” the U.S and its regional partners.
  • These objectives it plans to achieve via enhanced defence cooperation and interoperability.
  • U.S. aims to work with India “toward domestic economic reform” and greater leadership roles for India in the East Asia Summitand ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.


  1. It offers of support to India via military, diplomatic and intelligence channels.
  2. It offers to help address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China and access to water.
  3. This also includes the Brahmaputra and other rivers facing diversion by China.


  • The U.S. also seeks to bolster common principles, including the peaceful resolution of disputes and the transparent infrastructure-debt practicesas per the strategy.
  • The U.S. aims to support India’s “Act East” policy and “its aspiration to be a leading global power, highlighting its compatibility with the U.S., Japanese and Australian vision” of the Indo-Pacific.

“A strong India, in cooperation with like-minded countries, would act as a counterbalance to China,” is one of the underlying assumptions of the strategy.

  • It also expects Chinese military, economic and diplomatic influence will continue to increase in the short term.
  • China aims to dissolve U.S. alliances and partnerships across the region.
  • China will exploit vacuums and opportunities created by these diminished bonds.
  • On Russia, it says the country will “remain a marginal player” in the region relative to the U.S., China and India.
  • On North Korea, a stated U.S. objective is to, “Convince the Kim regime that the only path to its survival is to relinquish its nuclear weapons.”

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • There’s a considerable bit of dissonance across this document, however, in its professed goal of spreading American and liberal values and the complete lack of any language on human rights.
  • Last year, India and China were engaged in their deadliest border dispute in decades along the Line of Actual Control, in which 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | U.S. Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific



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