By end of June recommendations needed on how to defend US and its allied interests from Chinese forces. Meanwhile, there is massive increase in cooperation between India and US.

 

New Delhi: By the end of June this year, a “China task force”, which was formally put into action by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on 1 March, will be ready with actionable and specific recommendations that the United States and its allied countries need to act on to combat the Chinese threat.

This task force—whose first meeting was attended by a team of 20 civilian and military experts drawn from different US departments, including the office of the Secretary of Defence, representatives from each arm of the US armed services, the intelligence community—has been given a time frame of roughly four months to present pointed recommendations on how to defend the US and its allied interests across the world from Chinese forces, both armed and non-armed.

According to New Delhi-based officials, the fact that it has been given a time frame of fewer than 150 days to present specific recommendations, shows how concerned and serious the new Biden administration is about the threat from China.

The formation of this task force was announced by US President Joe Biden in February when he was on his first visit to the Pentagon as President.

People familiar with the matter told The Sunday Guardian that this task force will also take into account the incidents that happened between India and China on India’s border, which also saw the death of 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan valley last June. The findings of the task force will be classified for the public, but its relevant findings will be shared with “few” US allies, including India.

Officials aware of the developments told The Sunday Guardian that there was “massive increase” in cooperation between Indian and US forces during the recent India-China border stand-off, during which Indian forces were engaged in protecting Indian territory and expelling the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel from “disputed” territories.

According to an official, the US’ efforts to protect its own and its allies’ interest against Chinese forces, especially in the South China Sea will be dependent on the cooperation that it receives from India. It is pertinent to mention here that after the Galwan incident, Indian Navy had deployed one of its frontline warships at the South China Sea, a region about which China is very sensitive.

“The recent incident (referring to the India-China border stand-off) is not a one-off development. China is likely to attempt the same thing, at different places. And this time it will be done in a better way than the last. Hence, it is obvious that India will accept cooperation and assistance on this from the US and other countries who too are being threatened by China. India, because of its proximity to China, is, and rightly so, more concerned about the rising ‘Chinese threat’, especially after all the efforts that Prime Minister Narendra Modi put in to cultivate a professional relationship with the Chinese, but which was broken to pieces by the Chinese without any reason,” an official said.