New report on U.S.-India security burden-sharing

CNA has published a report on U.S.-India security burden-sharing, which I worked on last year. I wrote the chapter on trends in security assistance and cooperation with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Here’s the abstract:

Building a partnership with India is central to U.S. security interests in the Indian Ocean (IO). The United States seeks to work with India to promote stability in a region of rising commercial and strategic importance. U.S. policymakers view India as an “anchor” or “pillar” of stability in the Asia-Pacific. Given declining defense budgets, however, the United States will have fewer resources for its forces and partner capacity-building in this vast region. Envisioning India as a “provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region,” the United States is naturally eager to pursue burden-sharing opportunities with India as a means to this end.

India for its part understands that the United States expects it to assume a greater leadership role in the IO and appreciates the importance of its growing economic and naval capabilities. In 2010, then-Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao spoke about the growing view that “a robust Indian naval presence is seen as a necessary contribution to a cooperative regional security order” and discussed “the cooperative burden-sharing of naval forces to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia” as an example of India’s contributions to IO security.

This report examines the potential for the United States and India to coordinate on the provision of security assistance and capacity-building in the IO as a form of security burden-sharing. We examine the South Asian littoral countries of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. At present, though, U.S.-India burden-sharing in the Indian Ocean is only notional as a logical next step in the U.S.-India strategic partnership. U.S.-India coordination on security assistance to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives would represent an important change to the approaches and tools in U.S. and Indian relations with these IO countries. It would also be a new aspect of U.S. bilateral and military-to-military relations with India.

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