…In the last decade, India’s Himalayan territorial disputes with China have become more frequent and aggressive. Without doubt, those clashes profoundly shape Indian perception. So does China’s steady acquisition of seaport facilities in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan’s Gwadar Port looks a lot like a Chinese naval base.
However, the Trump administration’s American domestic economic revival and its hard-nosed trade agreements with China demonstrated that the U.S. could and would counter China’s economic hegemony. Washington used legal, financial and diplomatic instruments to penalize Chinese intellectual-property theft. It also targeted Chinese spying, which penalized lucrative Chinese companies like Huawei linked to espionage.
China’s economy buys the weapons that enable territorial expansion and pays the bribes that empower its economic dominance.
The Trump administration is the first U.S. administration to actively and relentlessly confront China using lawyers, guns and money — legal sanctions, military operations and economic policies.
American media missed the story, but savvy minds around the world noticed.
Which brings us back to Malabar 2020’s message. Indian officials unflinchingly call it a “quadrilateral exercise” that demonstrates “high-levels of synergy and coordination” among Quad navies. Indian media report that exercise scenarios reflect the mutual goal of countering increased Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Indian government has scripted Malabar 2020 to send a definitive message: The Quad has become a functioning military coalition, with India as a committed member.
The CCP’s leaders and Chinese admirals get the message.