‘Growing Nervousness Over Chinese Behaviour Brought India Closer To US’

WASHINGTON — India’s grow­ing nervousness over China’s behaviour in the region played a pivotal role in bringing it closer to the US, according to former US defence secretary Ashton Carter.

Carter, who in his vari­ous capacities at the Pentagon including as defence secretary played a key role in cementing India-US defence relationship, said in a major policy paper on Wednesday that China stands isolated and India has emerged as a key and dependable ally of the United States in the region.

India, he said, is an example of how the strategic benefits of the principled, inclusive net­work can overcome hesitation.

“Once deeply skeptical of US influence in South Asia, India became a more active partici­pant in regional security during my two years as secretary of defence than at any time in its history,” he said.

Currently director of Belfer Center for Science and Inter­national Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, Carter said many factors led to India’s decision to seek closer ties with the US: its growing economic and political confidence, its assessment of the strategic situ­ation on the subcontinent, and the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.

“Growing nervousness over China’s behaviour from the South China Sea to the Hima­layan border region played a pivotal role,” Carter said.

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