Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: ARIA Act
Mains level: US influence in Asia-Pacific
- US President Trump has signed an Act designed to counter the encroaching influence and growing threat from China and to reinvigorate US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region.
Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA)
- The ARIA aims to establish a multifaceted U.S. strategy to increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific region.
- ARIA draws attention to U.S. relations with China, India, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea.
- It will authorize $1.5 billion in spending for a range of U.S. programs in East and Southeast Asia and develop a long-term strategic vision and policy for the Indo-Pacific region.
- The ARIA includes multiple provisions of Trump which have identified the Indo-Pacific as a strategic region of particular priority.
- North Korea: The act aims to justify the termination of U.S. support for any UNSC resolutions sanctioning North Korea or the lifting of any unilateral U.S. sanctions on North Korea.
- Taiwan: The ARIA encourages the travel of high level US officials to Taiwan, in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act which was made law in 2018.
- South China Sea: ARIA calls on the US to support the ASEAN nations as they adopt a code of conduct in the South China Sea with China.
Impact on ties with India
- ARIA allocates a budget of $1.5 billion over a five-year period to enhance cooperation with America’s strategic regional allies in the region.
- Stressing the designation of India as a major defense partner, which is unique to India, the new law elevates defense trade and technology cooperation.
- The new law cites China’s illegal construction and militarization of artificial features in the South China Sea and coercive economic practices.
- The Act notes the increased presence throughout Southeast Asia of the Islamic State and other international terrorist organizations that threaten the US.
- The law also refers to Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between US, Australia, India, and Japan.
- It however clarifies that such a dialogue is intended to augment, rather than to replace, current mechanisms.