Home / News / World /  India to play a key role in countering China, says US Navy chief

United States Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday on 27 August said that India will be a crucial partner for America in the future, playing a key role in countering China.

Addressing a seminar -- hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington --Gilday said that India presents China with a two-front problem, reported Nikkei Asia.

"They now force China to not only look east, toward the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, but they now have to be looking over their shoulder at India," he said.

"I've spent more time on a trip to India than I have with any other country because I consider them to be a strategic partner for us in the future", he added.

Referring to his five-day visit to India last October, he said, "The Indian Ocean battlespace is becoming increasingly more important for us. The fact that India and China currently have a bit of a skirmish along their border ... it's strategically important."

He expressed his concern that the border clashes between India and China in the Himalayas pose a two-front problem for Beijing and has been gaining traction.

Earlier in June, former Pentagon official Elbridge Colby -- during Quad (the US, Japan, India and Australia) meeting in Japan -- had said that while India would not directly contribute in a local battle over Taiwan, it could draw China's attention to the Himalayan border, the report added.

"What the United States and Japan need India to do is to be as strong as possible in South Asia and effectively draw Chinese attention so that they have a major second-front problem," said Colby.

In the meantime, India draws the same benefit from China's difficulties in facing a strong US-Japan alliance around Taiwan, he said.

'Yudh Abhyas' on mountain tops of Uttarakhand this October

The annual joint exercise Yudh Abhyas, which translates to "War Practice," will be held in Uttarakhand from 18 to 31 October.

Indian and US armies will carry out the 18th edition Yudh Abhyas series of wargames in Uttarakhand's Auli.
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Indian and US armies will carry out the 18th edition Yudh Abhyas series of wargames in Uttarakhand's Auli. (AFP)

A planned joint mountaintop exercise between the US and India in October is seen as underscoring the potential second front for China.

While India has hosted the Yudh Abhyas exercise in Uttarakhand before --including in 2014, 2016 and 2018 -- those drills were all held in the foothills over 300 km from the China boundary.

Reports say this year's drills would take place at an altitude of over 3,000 meters in Uttarakhand's Auli region, less than 100 km from the Line of Actual Control between India and China border.

Columnist Brahma Chellaney -- in an opinion piece titled 'India has a stake in Taiwan's defence' in Nikkei Asia -- wrote that Indian activities in the Himalayas could help Taiwan's defence.

It would be "tying down a complete Chinese theatre force, which could otherwise be employed against the island," he wrote. But such a two-front strategy must be coordinated with the US, Chellaney added.

Look at China's 'vulnerabilities'

During the Thursday's seminar, Gilday said that a potential fight against China will likely be trans-regional.

He stated, "You just can't think of China through the lens of the Indo-Pacific. You have to look at the Indian Ocean, you have to look at their Belt and Road, their economic connective tissue, which is now global", adding, "You have to take a look at their vulnerabilities," Gilday added.

(With inputs from ANI)

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