Gilda highlights India’s role to counter Beijing’s expansionist ambitions.
o US navy officer, Admiral Mike Gilday claims that India will be an integral partner for the United States in the future and will play a valuable role in countering China.
o According to Gilday, India presents China with a “two-front problem” in future conflicts
As China aggressively works on new aircraft carriers as well as a blue-water navy to flex its power in the Indian Ocean, Washington speaks to New Delhi in its role to counter Beijing’s expansionist ambitions. US top navy officer, Admiral Mike Gilday has claimed that India will be an integral partner for the United States of America in the future and will play a valuable role in countering China.
“I have spent more time on a trip to India than with any other country because I consider them to be a strong strategic partner for America in the future,” Gilday, States’ highest-ranking Navy officer, told an in-person seminar in Washington.
According to the report, Gilday stated that India presents China with a “two-front problem”. According to him: “They can now force China to not only look east, toward the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, but they now also have to be looking over their shoulder at India,” he said.
During the seminar, Gilday mentioned that India and China’s border conflicts along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) can also be strategically important for them. According to him, the idea that border clashes between India and China in the Himalayas pose a two-front problem for Beijing that has been gaining traction among US strategists, as per reports.
In June, when the leaders of the Quad, the United States, Japan, India and Australia met in Japan, former Pentagon official Elbridge Colby stated that while India would not directly participate in a local battle over Taiwan, it could possibly draw China’s attention to the Himalayan border.
“What the United States and Japan require India to do is to be as prominent as possible in South Asia and effectively draw Chinese attention so that they can have a major second-front problem,” says Colby, the principal writer of the 2018 National Defence Strategy under former President Donald Trump.
India, in the meantime, is drawing the same benefits from China facing difficulties in countering a strong US-Japan alliance around Taiwan, he said. A planned joint exercise between the United States and India in October is seen as underscoring the possible second front for China. In the last few years, the United States has been viewing India as a strategic counter to China in the Indian Ocean Region.
The Quad members are also strengthening their strategic embrace by holding security dialogues while particularly focusing on the Indo-Pacific region. This has become a major irritant for China, which views the Quad as a US-backed move to counter Beijing in the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy is pushing for a third and much bigger aircraft carrier to retain its combat edge over China in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). With India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) in line to be commissioned as the 45,000-tonne INS Vikrant on September 2, the Navy believes that the project for a third carrier should be released as soon as possible since it will take at least a decade to build a 65,000-tonne carrier.
China is already operating two carriers, Liaoning and Shandong, and is quickly building two more using CATOBAR configuration. The third Chinese carrier, the 80,000-tonne Fujian, was launched in June. The US has 11 ‘super’ 100,000-tonne, nuclear-powered carriers, each of which can carry 80-90 fighters and aircrafts.