- The 2021 NDAA is focussed on China. It requires reports on Chinese military and security developments (Section 1260) and the U.S. strategy toward China (Section 1261). The NDAA has outlined activities in the South China Sea. Section 1259 prohibits the secretary of defense from involving China in any Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercises until he is able to certify to relevant congressional committees that China has ceased its land reclamation and related military activities for at least a four-year period. Similarly, Section 1262 requires the secretaries of defense and state to name-and-shame China by reporting any significant Chinese reclamation activity, territorial claims, or militarization in the South China Sea to relevant congressional committees and releasing the unclassified core of that report to the public. The US containment policies in the broad region that it nowadays refers to as the “Indo-Pacific” has been highlighted. It’ll thus seek to optimize spending and improve the military’s positioning, as well as coordinate everything with America’s regional allies. In this instance the Indian position in the Himalayas also becomes relevant as already mentioned in this act specifically. India should prevail on the US to provide the best technology and weapons to strengthen the allied Indian position in the high altitude mountains of the Himalayas. In addition it has also mentioned of the so-called “Quad” between USA, Australia, India and Japan as a prominent fixture of regional geopolitics. There is also a provision of sharpening the counterintelligence activities in this region focussed at China. This would also include the area of the CPEC and Gwadar-Baluchistan and such like areas. As regards the counterintelligence aspect, the NDAA has now being refocused against China with a view to counter the Chinese “debt diplomacy”, in this region. Pakistan is already falling under debt due to the “China Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC) construction costs.
The USA will highlight and spread risk awareness to deter innocent nations succumbing to China’s low-interest and long-term loans trap. The 5G element of next year’s proposed military budget is extremely pernicious since it suggests that the US will withhold the deployment of new weapons systems or forces to host countries that haven’t taken steps to reduce the supposed threat to American bases from Chinese technology in this sphere. Basically, those countries that are dependent upon (or rather, have been misled into believing that they need) the US’ military presence will have to choose between retaining their alliance with America or using low-cost Chinese technology. This zero-sum game intends to force them into sacrificing their interests for the US. This is where India too will have to get off the fence and decide the side. Logically and from India’s sovereignty perspective, seeking alliance with US will enable India to create a security deterrence and concentrate on its economy and build a modern state with the idea of a Free World at its centre. All issues of NDAA 2020/2021 can be summarised as given below.
Summary of 2020/2021 NDAA
- In the fiscal year 2020, military activities had included expansion of the aircraft fleet and the F-35 program. Both these have already added teeth to the American deployment in the Indo-Pacific region. The US National Defence Authorisation Act 2020 had played out for the first time a clear roadmap for leveraging the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese expansionist moves by developing ‘three long-term competitive strategies’. For this purpose, the act had specifically stated that the Pentagon would work closely with the Director of the Office of Net Assessment.
- In the fiscal year 2021, the Indo-Pacific has been Authorized $3.58 billion as the basis for the Indo-Pacific Reassurance Initiative to optimize the presence of U.S. forces in the region, strengthen and maintain bilateral and multilateral military exercises and training with United States allies and partner countries, improve infrastructure in the region to enhance the responsiveness of U.S. Armed Forces, enhance the prepositioning of equipment and material of the U.S. Armed Forces, and build the defense and security capabilities, capacity, and cooperation of allies and partner nations. India should be able to make a case for harnessing the above mentioned capacities and cornering at least half of this money for purchase of new military hardware, to thwart China.
- Finally, Chinese aggression along the LAC in the Himalayas has been brought within the ambit of this act .The Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said: “Through today’s New Year’s Day vote in the Senate, Congress has made the National Defence Authorisation Act into law, including elements of my resolution calling on China to end its military aggression towards India and others in the broader Indo-Pacific region”. The nuances of the application of this act and its impact on global good are bound to turn the tide away from the tyranny of communist China to a free world. Without doubt the Balance of Power would shift in favour of the Free World.
- It can be summarised that the Balance of Power, as a concept, is fast altering in favour of a communist China. This balance needs to be immediately tilted back in favour of nations following the rule-based International laws. This can be restored with the landmark NDAA 2021 legislation as explained. There is immediate requirement of America restoring its primacy in the United Nations and promote the ‘Collective Security’ agenda for survival of the planet. India is holding along the ‘Line of Actual Control’ (LAC) against China at a huge cost. The same (as already covered above) point needs emphasis again. Thus, there is again a case, which requires, legitimising grants towards the costs of weapons and equipment, which is needed by India for this thankless job. All Developed Western nations need to chip in.This could be by giving one-time grants to India for the defence purchases as well initiate a new process of an “On Lease” method for hiring strategic assets like the Sixth Generation Fighters or other game changing assets like B2 Stealth Bombers etc. The Indian pilots can be trained in peace time to operate the same.Because,India is not only serving as a ‘Pivot in Asia’ concept but actually is holding PLA’S 20-25 Divisions equivalent, which otherwise would have been available for overwhelming Taiwan or Japan. Thus, India’s position in the Himalayas, along the ‘LAC’ is a new “Geopolitical Pivot” of time. It can be actually coined and named as the ‘Pivot of World Peace’ (POWP) requiring global support.
- Further, the ‘CPEC’ happens to be the flagship project of this ‘OBOR’ drive. This has shifted China’s main effort towards a western land route, where India’s Himalayan defences lie. Beyond doubt, both the above theories need to be replaced by a shift of the Geostrategic Pivot of the 21st century to the Indian Himalayas. Here lies the main contest between the three military powers, China, India and America. Management of this ‘conflict Zone’ will dictate the outcome of tomorrows’ global security. Subsequently, this can even become a flash point for nuclear exchanges and the third world war. Let us further understand this argument of this new Himalayan theory. In this context, the ‘Indo-US Strategic Partnership’ becomes the defining geopolitical event of this century and that the new US President designate has in a way confirmed the same.
- Therefore, both India & the USA need to work on a more flexible but robust partnership with mutual readjustments so as to allow India, its own geopolitical space and autonomy for India’s future growth. This will in turn enable India, to emerge as an independent and strong military power rather than becoming a puppet of the West, as that does not allow inclusive and independent growth. Mutually, both India and the USA have to reach out, to be able to knit a workable Strategic Partnership which gives enough confidence to India to “Get off the Fence towards the West” and avail the best of the NDAA 2021 as already covered above.