US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Pentagon Chief Mark Esper met with their Indian counterparts in New Delhi. Following the talks, the parties announced the signing of an agreement on the exchange and development of cooperation in the field of defense. The treaty, in particular, allows India to access navigation data by improving the accuracy of its weapons systems. Thus, the United States continues to strengthen its ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific region, as part of its confrontation with China.
Following the talks, the parties announced the signing of the Basic Agreement on the exchange and development of cooperation in the field of defense. This move was a continuation of Washington’s anti-Chinese policy, in which it seeks to strengthen its cooperation with allies in Asia.
“Big things are happening as our democracies come together to better protect the citizens of our two countries and, indeed, the free world. Our leaders and our citizens are seeing with increasing clarity that the Chinese Communist Party is not a friend of either democracy, the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation, or the foundation of a free and open, prosperous Indo-Pacific region, “Pompeo told reporters after talks with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
“Defense ties between our two countries remain a key pillar of bilateral relations. Based on our shared values and interests, we shoulder to shoulder support a free and open Indo-Pacific region for all, especially in light of the growing aggression and destabilizing actions of China, ”said Macr Esper.
The United States plans to sell more fighters and drones to India. Under the agreement, New Delhi will have access to satellite imagery and a range of topographic, sea and aeronautical data, which will increase the accuracy of Indian weapons systems. Washington will also be able to provide India with advanced navigation aids for aircraft, Reuters reports, citing a source in the Indian Defense Ministry.
The signing of the treaty took place against the background of the aggravation of the situation on the Indo-Chinese border in the Himalayas. On the night of June 16, in the Galvan Valley, which is in the disputed region of Ladakh, there was a massive clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers. According to the terms of the bilateral agreement, the parties cannot use firearms in the disputed territories. However, this did not become an obstacle to the conflict – the servicemen staged a mass brawl, in which about 500 people participated.
As a result of the incident, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and 76 were injured. China does not provide data on casualties, the Indian media reported 40 dead Chinese soldiers. The incident was the bloodiest border clash in decades.
A week later, the commanders of the armies of both countries agreed on a mutual withdrawal of troops from this disputed area. A week later, India and China began to strengthen the section of the demarcation line between the two countries in the eastern part of the Himalayan region. The Indian side began to erect fences, the Chinese side expanded the outpost at the end of the road from the PRC bases located in the depths of Chinese territory.
“The China side has seriously undermined India’s territorial sovereignty, violated bilateral agreements and important consensus, and damaged peace and tranquility in the border areas, which contradicted recent efforts by both sides to de-escalate tensions,” .
The fact that the de-escalation process, which began since the clash of the parties in June, did not bring much success, did not surprise the experts, given the existence of territorial disputes between the countries. Direct conflict is still a distant prospect, as it became clear in June that relations between the two largest powers in Asia were deteriorating.
Washington, which is consistently pursuing an anti-Chinese policy and trying to enlist the support of its allies in the region, decided that it had something to offer. The agreement on the exchange and development of cooperation in the field of defense, which will provide India with new military technologies, is undoubtedly intended, among other things, to strengthen the position of New Delhi in its conflict with Beijing.
Anti-Chinese politics has become one of the key points in the election program of US President Donald Trump , who is fighting for re-election. And the fact that Washington, on the eve of the elections, has intensified its contacts with India, is quite logical in the chain of steps of the White House to confront the PRC.
In addition, the clashes between Beijing and New Delhi gave Washington an excuse to clearly define its position and, moreover, to back it up with bright political gestures.
A few weeks after the border incident, the US aircraft carrier was deployed to the Bay of Bengal to conduct joint exercises with the Indian Navy. The event undoubtedly took on more importance, given the aggravation of relations between Beijing and New Delhi – so Washington made it clear that it was supporting India. And while the relationship is on the rise, the more New Delhi competes with Beijing, the more its diplomatic and military ties with the United States grow.
As noted by The New York Times , by the end of 2020, India plans to purchase more than $ 20 billion worth of American weapons. Earlier, New Delhi tried to accelerate the purchase of 30 drones, which can be deployed in the Himalayas border area.
New Delhi is now preparing for the upcoming Malabar joint naval exercise, which will take place in the Indian Ocean next month. They will be attended by all members of the so-called “Quartet” – the Quadripartite Dialogue on Security, implemented by the US, Japan, India and Australia (QUAD). Beijing argued that the format was created as a potential “Asian NATO, ” which aims to counter China’s military might in the region. Recently, the same statements began to sound from Washington.
These events are held every year and usually involve India, the United States and Japan. This time, for the first time in over a decade, New Delhi invited Australia to teach.
On September 23, India and Australia held joint exercises in the Indian Ocean region, which in June signed a landmark agreement on mutual access to military bases for logistical support.
The inclusion of Australia has raised concerns in Beijing. China has already stated that the exercises will destabilize the situation in the region, but the Quartet simply dismissed its fears.
The meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of the United States and India, and especially its outcome, also could not pass unnoticed by the PRC. “We urge Pompeo to abandon his Cold War zero-sum mentality and stop talking about the“ Chinese threat, ”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing in Beijing on Tuesday October 27th.