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Udhayan C C asked: As per the latest strategic review, US treat India as an ally and China as a threat. Will that reduce the aggressiveness of China towards India?

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  • Rukmani Gupta replies: The latest strategic guidance document for the United States’ Department of Defense highlights the US' global priorities in the field of defence and identifies Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as the two most important regions for the US policy in future. In the context of American rebalancing in Asia, the US' commitment to investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India is mentioned. China's rapid military modernisation and a concomitant lack of transparency in its strategic intentions, as well as its use of asymmetrical means to counter American power projection capabilities, are seen as challenges.

    Since the Indo-US nuclear deal of 2005, many in China believe that the US is actively cultivating ties with India with a view to balance China's rise in Asia. The identification of India as an important element in future US strategy, as suggested in the strategic guidance document, is likely to heighten Chinese threat perceptions vis-à-vis India. It is by no means certain that increased wariness would entail conciliatory posturing towards India.