In a key development, a powerful US Congressional committee has recommended that India should be made part of the 'NATO Plus' grouping.
The inclusion of India in the NATO Plus would strengthen global security and deter the Chinese aggression, according to the The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The NATO Plus is a grouping of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and five countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea. It is aimed at boosting global defence cooperation. The Congressional panel, called in short the China Committee, recommends that India should be the sixth member.
The recommendation comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to the United States next month.
What has the China Committee said?
The China Committee has said that that India should be included as the sixth member of the NATO Plus grouping.
The committee has said that India's inclusion would strengthen the US objectives of deterring Chinese aggression.
Bringing India on board would facilitate seamless intelligence sharing between these countries and India would access the latest military technology without much of a time lag.
The China Committee, led by Chairman Mike Gallagher and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, overwhelmingly adopted a policy proposal to enhance Taiwan's deterrence, including through strengthening NATO Plus to include India.
"Winning the strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party and ensuring the security of Taiwan demands the United States strengthen ties to our allies and security partners, including India. Including India in NATO Plus security arrangements would build upon the US and India's close partnership to strengthen global security and deter the aggression of the CCP across the Indo-Pacific region," the Select Committee recommended.
Indian-American Ramesh Kapoor, who has been working on this proposal for the past six years, said this is a significant development. He hoped that the recommendation would find a place in the National Defense Authorization Act, 2024 and finally end up becoming a law of the land.
What all has the China Committee recommended?
In its set of recommendations, the China Committee said that economic sanctions against China in case of an attack on Taiwan will be most effective if key allies such as G7, NATO, NATO+5, and Quad members join, and negotiating a joint response and broadcasting this message publicly have the added benefit of enhancing deterrence.
"Much like we do joint contingency planning for war fighting, we need to coordinate in peacetime with US allies. To that end, Congress should pass legislation similar to the STAND with Taiwan Act of 2023 that mandates the development of an economic sanctions package to be employed in the event of a PRC attack on Taiwan," said the Committee.
It should also pass legislation to counter the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) economic coercion, including by providing tools to support foreign partners targeted by the People's Republic of China's (PRC) economic coercion. The flip side of economic deterrence is economic engagement with Taiwan.
Accordingly, Congress should support efforts to reduce the taxation burden on US-Taiwan cross-border investment as well as broader trade negotiations with a particular focus on developing shared standards and regulations to combat the CCP's unfair economic policies, the committee said.
"The United States should strengthen the NATO Plus arrangement to include India. The United States should also strengthen diplomatic deterrence by supporting Taiwan's participation in international organizations and amending the TAIPEI Act to provide that the United States, alongside its allies and partners, should publicly oppose any attempts by the CCP to resolve the status of Taiwan's sovereignty by intentionally misusing, misinterpreting, and misleading others on the underlying purpose of UN Resolution 2758 or the United States' One China Policy," it stated.
(With PTI inputs)