According to Lauren Frayer and Sushmita Pathak, for National Public Radio, “A week before the U.S. presidential election, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed a military agreement Tuesday in India before heading to Sri Lanka on a multi-country tour aimed at pushing the Trump administration’s anti-China message.”
“Pompeo was joined in New Delhi by U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Together they signed a pact with their Indian counterparts to share sensitive satellite data, often used to steer missiles and drones.”
“It’s the latest in a series of U.S.-India military agreements designed to counter China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific region.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (from left), U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar address a joint press conference in New Delhi. Altaf Qadri/AP
‘“Big things are happening as our democracies align to better protect the citizens of our two countries and indeed, of the free world,’ Pompeo said at a news conference held outdoors amid the pandemic.”
“Earlier, Pompeo and Esper met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed ‘COVID-19 response, security and defense cooperation, and shared interests in a free and open Indo-Pacific,’ according to a statement from the U.S. State Department.”
“Tuesday’s visit comes during a spike in tensions between India and China. The two countries share the world’s longest unmarked border, stretching more than 2,000 miles and with much of it high in the Himalayas. Violence broke out between rival troops there this summer. In June, 20 Indian troops were killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese soldiers.”
“Pompeo and Esper laid wreaths at a war memorial in New Delhi early Tuesday. Military buglers played as Pompeo put his hand on his heart. Afterward, he said he was thinking of those 20 Indian troops killed this summer. And he railed against the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP.”
‘“The CCP is no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation — the foundation of a free and open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,’ Pompeo said.”
“The United States has long viewed India as a bulwark [a defensive wall] against China. The Trump administration has increased military exercises with India and pushed New Delhi to buy more U.S. weapons.”
As I have said before, I believe it is time for the United States to move past its long-held view of India and pursue a true partnership with India.
“Despite Pompeo’s strong anti-China rhetoric, neither Singh nor Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar mentioned China by name at their joint news conference with U.S. officials.”
‘“I think it’s significant that [Pompeo and Esper’s visit] is happening even as India is involved in a boundary crisis with China. India might have declined to do a high-profile visit like this with American officials, in case China was provoked further,’ Tanvi Madan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said. ‘So, it says something about the U.S.-India relationship.’”
Yes, “it says something about the U.S.-India relationship,” if President Trump is re-elected.
If Joe Biden becomes president, we can expect him to continue his “China loving ways,” and any consideration of India will take a backseat.
If President Trump wins re-election, I would encourage him to forge an historic alliance with India and other Indo-Pacific countries to deal with China and North Korea.
What I’m suggesting would be an alliance similar to NATO, but in the Indo-Pacific region.
It could be referred to as SPARTA, or the South Pacific And Republic of India Treaty Alliance.
The name has a ring to it…, although the name is not as important as the power it would wield, militarily and economically, against China in the region.
Initially, SPARTA could consist of India, South Korea, Japan, The Philippines, and Australia, perhaps, and it could expand its members from there.
The threat the Chinese Communist Party poses around the world must be addressed soon, and addressed head-on.
A strong partnership between India and the U.S. would be a very good start in the right direction.
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