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US President Joe Biden Credit: Twitter image

Washington: US President Joe Biden has proposed USD 1.8 billion to support his Indo-Pacific Strategy along with another USD 400 million to counter China’s aggressive behaviour in the strategically vital region.

The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.

In the Indo-Pacific, America is strengthening its role and expanding its cooperation with longtime allies and partners, including new diplomatic, defence and security, critical and emerging technology and supply chain, and climate and global health initiatives, while supporting stronger ties between our European and Indo Pacific allies, Biden said on Monday.

The President has prioritised strategic competition with China and worked with allies and partners to resist coercion and deter aggression from Beijing and Moscow, and has ended America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan while removing all US troops, the White House said.

Both the proposals for the Indo-Pacific are part of the USD773 billion annual defence budget of the US for the year 2023, which was submitted by the White House to Congress as part of its annual budgetary proposals.

The budget, the White House said, promotes integrated deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and globally. To sustain and strengthen deterrence, the budget prioritises China as the Department’s pacing challenge.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

Resource-rich Indo-Pacific region is the lifeline and also the highway for trade and prosperity.

To support American leadership in defending democracy, freedom, and security worldwide, the budget includes nearly USD 1.8 billion to support a free and open, connected, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific Region and the Indo-Pacific Strategy, and USD 400 million for the Chinese Malign Influence Fund.

In addition, the budget provides USD 682 million for Ukraine, an increase of USD 219 million above the 2021 enacted level, to counter Russian malign influence and to meet emerging needs related to security, energy, cybersecurity issues, disinformation, macroeconomic stabilisation, and civil society resilience.

According to the White House, the Department Of Defence’s 2023 Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights some of the key investments the Department is making that are focused on strengthening deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Department is building the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges, working in concert with the interagency and US allies and partners to ensure US deterrence is integrated across domains, theatres, and the spectrum of conflict, it said.

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