The United States is investing in long-term strategic partnership with India, the Pentagon has said in a new defence strategic document which puts Asia on a bigger priority and identifies China as a security threat.
"The United States is investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region," said the document unveiled by President Barack Obama in his rare appearance at the Pentagon on Thursday.
The document titled 'Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense' identified China as one country which poses a security threat to the US in long term.
"Over the long-term, China's emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the US economy and our security in a variety of ways," said the eight-page document.
"Our two countries have a strong stake in peace and stability in East Asia and an interest in building a cooperative bilateral relationship."
"However, the growth of China's military power must be accompanied by greater clarity of its strategic intentions in order to avoid causing friction in the region," the document said.
The new strategy also replaces the decade-old policy of maintaining a force capable of fighting two wars at once. It calls for a small and lean American Army.
"Even when US forces are committed to a large-scale operation in one region, they will be capable of denying the objectives of – or imposing unacceptable costs on – an opportunistic aggressor in a second region," it said.
The document made clear that while some current military missions will be curtailed, none will be scrapped entirely.
"Wholesale divestment of the capability to conduct any mission would be unwise, based on historical and projected uses of US military forces and our inability to predict the future," the document said.
Observing that America's economic and security interests are inextricably linked to developments in the arc extending from the Western Pacific and East Asia into the Indian Ocean region and South Asia creating a mix of evolving challenges and opportunities, the Pentagon said while the US military will continue to contribute to security globally, 'we will of necessity rebalance toward the Asia Pacific region'.
"Our relationship with Asian allies and key partners are critical to the future stability and growth of the region."
Noting that Osama bin Laden's demise and killing of many other top al-Qaeda leaders have rendered the group far less capable, it said the terror network and its affiliates remain active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.
"Violent extremists will continue to threaten US interests, allies, partners and the homeland. The primary loci of these threats are South Asia and the Middle East," it said.
"The United States will continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners to assure access to and use of the global commons, both by strengthening international norms of responsible behavior and by maintaining relevant and interoperable military capabilities," the document said.
According to the strategic document, in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US will emphasise non-military means and military-to-military co-operation to address instability and reduce the demand for significant US force commitments to stability operations.
"The US forces, will no longer be seized to conduct large-scale, prolonged military operations," it said.
It said as long as nuclear weapons remain in existence, the US will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal.
"It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which will reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in the US national security strategy," it said.
- The Asian Age