US, Indian think-tanks call for deepening of Indo-Pacific ties ahead of 2+2 meetings

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 November 2019, 22:58 GMT]
China's strategic infrastructure financing, including of Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, Gwadar Port in Pakistan, and Kyaukpyu in Myanmar as well as its economic cooperation, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and investments in Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Sri Lanka are among the tools Beijing is using to shape geopolitics in the Indian Ocean region, argue two of the collaborating think tanks at Washington DC and New Delhi, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Delhi Policy Group (DPG). Enlarging US interest in the Indian Ocean Region, US recognising India's role in the region and the deepening of US-India strategic conversations and planning are the action-points proposed by both the think-tanks.

The Indo-Pacific cannot be a “Hollywood to Bollywood” map, as is often characterised, writes Richard Rossow, a senior adviser at the CSIS and Hemant K. Singh the director general of the DPG in a joint article published by Defense One, a US-based newswire on security matters.

They authors argue that the US and India need to go beyond just a buyer-seller or a transactional relationship “to ensure strategic and tactical alignment”.

“India feels that U.S. engagements on issues like Afghanistan and Iran are more or less afterthoughts, or even diktats instead of conversations between partners. Such conversations will also be important as we attempt to define the roles of small-group initiatives such as the U.S.-India-Australia-Japan Quadrilateral, or our range of trilateral discussions with Indo-Pacific partners such as the U.S.-India-Japan trilateral,” Rossow and Singh argue.

The authors were aiming at the next 2+2 defense and foreign affairs ministerial conference between the two countries which is to be held in Washington DC in December. The inaugural 2+2 meeting took place last year in New Delhi.

India and the USA are expected to sign the Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and review the steps being taken to operationalise the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) during the meeting.

As earlier reported, the US and Indian think-tanks are focused on China's controversial port projects at Gwadar, Kyaukpyu and Hambantota.

Harbored Ambitions Map
Source: Harbored Ambitions, C4ADS (

India is also set to hold inaugural defense and foreign ministerial 2+2 dialogue with Japan on 30 November.

Richard Rossow
Richard Rossow
Hemant Krishan Singh
Hemant Krishan Singh
Richard Rossow is a senior adviser and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington, D.C., based think tank.

The Wadhwani Chair leads the Center's work on India in U.S.-India Policy Studies of CSIS.

Prior to his CSIS engagement, Rossow served as director for South Asia at McLarty Associates, leading the firm’s work for clients in India and the neighboring region (Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert O’Blake, is now heading the McLarty operations on South Asia).

The Wadhwani Chair is funded by Wadhwani Foundation, which is led by a CSIS trustee and Symphony Technology Group CEO, Romesh Wadhwani, an Indian-American billionaire businessman based in Palo-Alto, California.

Hemant Krishan Singh is a former career diplomat who has served in the U.S. and has been India’s longest serving Ambassador to Japan (2006-2010), Indonesia and Timor Leste (2003-2006) and India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (1995-1999).

Mr Singh has contributed to the forging of the India-Japan strategic and global partnership, the intensification of India's relations with Indonesia and ASEAN, the evolution of India's revitalised Look East Policy and the shaping of India's policy towards key neighbours and strategic partners, according to his profile description at the Delhi Policy Group (DPG). He is currently Director General of the DPG.

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External Links:
Defense One: To Deter China, Deepen the US-Indian Partnership



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