Indicates significant rise in India’s importance in the region
Washington – The US Pacific command will be changing its title to Indo-Pacific command. Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Rob Manning said that the change in title indicates the new additional responsibility as well as the domain of the Command. Through this revised nomenclature, the United States has delivered the message that this Command will be responsible for the region extending from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This becomes the most significant policy decision by the US in view of the increasing Chinese activity in the region. This will greatly increase the importance of India’s position and activities in this region.
While defining the defence budget for the year 2019, the US Congress had demanded that US should focus on the regions where China is trying to increase its influence, with a special mention of the Indo-Pacific. The ‘Armed Services Committee’ had suggested to make the necessary deployment, develop infrastructural facilities and make provisions for expeditious transport of defence material in this region. The 15-page report of the Committee claimed that it has become mandatory to take such a decision in view of China’s aggression. Within a few weeks of this, the US has announced the changes of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ Command. This is an indication that the US plans to increase its presence in the region in future.
Presence of the Chinese navy is on the rise in the South China Sea, East China Sea, the maritime region near Australia and the Indian Ocean. Hence, the United States has demanded that to counter the Chinese challenge, all the countries need to unite and plan comprehensively for this region. A consistent demand from the US has been that India should especially increase its influence in the Pacific Ocean along with the South-East Asian region and contribute to the security of this region. Japan and Australia have also supported the demand. The ASEAN member countries have shown willingness and have taken necessary steps to increase their defence cooperation with India to counter the Chinese threat.
In view of this, the United States’ policy with respect to the Indo-Pacific region proves to be extremely favourable for India. The United States can keep a check on the aggressive activities of China with the help of India. At the same time, this will help in correcting the imbalance created in the region because of the increasing Chinese military might.
An Indian military analyst had first put forth the idea of the Indo-Pacific region. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had supported the idea had insisted that India take up an important role in this region. Following this, even Australia started making systematic efforts towards this. Recently, a joint statement issued by the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the French President Emmanuel Macron referred to this region as the Indo-Pacific region. Thus, it is clear that the major countries of the world are expectantly looking at India for its contribution in this region. Now, the United States has taken an active stance in this and has prepared to convert its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific command.