United States President, Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act before New Year. The act reinforces India-US defence ties, recognising India as a major defence partner
The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act was signed by the United States President, Donald Trump before stepping into 2019. The legislation views India as a major defence partner and aims at strengthening India-US defence ties. The key objective of the Act is to reinforce US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region. The Act also called out China for “illegal construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea”.
Section 204 of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, recognises the need to enhance diplomatic, economic and defence relations between India and the United States. This would facilitate technological exchange as well as defence trade between the two countries. As per the Act, delegating the role of a major defence partner to India would help accelerate exchanges, encouraging a higher level of cooperation and partnership.
The Act was initially introduced by the US Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, Cory Gardner and member of the Subcommittee, Ed Markey in April, 2018. It aims to enhance quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, Japan, India and the US. Reinforcing a rule-based international system for the development of the Indo-Pacific region, the Act establishes US commitment to the growth and security for the region as a policy.
Safeguarding the national security of United States allies in the Indo-Pacific region and promoting the country’s economic interests in the region are at the core of the Act. It asserts, “The core tenets of the US-backed international system are being challenged, including by China’s illegal construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea and coercive economic practices; North Korea’s acceleration of its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities; and the increased presence throughout Southeast Asia of the Islamic State and other international terrorist organisations that threaten the United States”.
With respect to bilateral ties with India, the act will replace India-US 2005 Defence relations framework. It will also make changes to the India-US 2012 Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, and the 2015 Joint Strategic Vision for the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, further evaluating the 2017 Joint Statement on Prosperity Through Partnership.