STRENGTHENING AMERICA & THE RSC NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY COUNTERING GLOBAL THREATShttps://rsc-johnson.house.gov/sites/republicanstudycommittee.house.gov/files/%5BFINAL%5D%20NSTF%20Report.pdf
Some nuggets from the long document. Interesting read!
The Trump administration has worked to strengthen our alliances in the Indo-Pacific as an essential aspect of the National Defense Strategy. This is probably best illustrated by the administration’s reactivation of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or “the Quad”) among the United States, Japan, India, and Australia during the 2017 ASEAN summit after an eight-year hiatus. The Quad, which shares common values of liberal democracy and open markets, has been an important development for the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific. The Department of State has defined the Quad’s main mission as upholding rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and overflight.177 As The Heritage Foundation has
noted, “the most important thing that unites the Quad countries, however, is an awareness that managing the rise of China is the defining challenge of our era.Future free trade agreements with Japan, the Philippines, and India would be welcome developments. Yet, more can be done, particularly through concluding bilateral free trade agreements with other partners in the region.Congress should encourage the Trump administration to explore expanded trade with India and enact the United States-India Enhanced Cooperation Act to reduce restrictions on arms sales to India.The Trump administration has made India a cornerstone of its Indo-Pacific strategy. India is the largest democracy in the world and has taken small but important steps towards market liberalization in recent years. India has also consistently stood up to China, including through challenging its influence on the South China Sea, and has worked closely with the United States to fight Salafi-jihadi terrorists in Southeast Asia.
The Task Force believes that expanding trade with India is in the United States’ national security interest. Ken Juster, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, noted in January 2018 that “a strategic view of our economic relationship could eventually lead to a roadmap for a U.S.-India Free Trade agreement.”192 As Raymond Vickery of CSIS has noted, the case for a free trade agreement with India is both economic and strategic, as the U.S. economy is the second-largest in the world on a purchasing power basis, while India ranks third.193 While India is not yet ready for a free trade agreement, President Trump has stated his willingness to strike a deal to ease some tariffs with India. However, negotiations during the president’s visit to India in February 2020 failed to achieve a deal.194Furthermore, the Task Force endorses legislation introduced by Task Force Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the U.S.-India Enhanced Cooperation Act, which would designate India as a Major Defense Partner to strengthen our alliance and enhance our security cooperation with India. This would grant India a status similar to that of U.S. allies, such as Australia and Japan, making it easier for the United States to export defense articles to India.195
Nevertheless, the Task Force believes both increased economic and security cooperation with India should be conditioned on significant improvements in the human rights situation and economic freedom. In recent years, India has seen a sharp uptick of attacks on religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims. The Department of State’s 2019 Human Rights Report on India notes that the government “had detained thousands of residents” in Kashmir.196 Open Doors USA, a watchdog organization for the persecution of Christians, has found that India is the 10th most dangerous country on earth to practice Christianity.
President Trump noted in an August 2018 address that the “next pillar” of the United States’ new strategy on Afghanistan is changing our approach to dealing with Pakistan. He said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.”484 President Trump followed up with action and cut $300 million in aid to Pakistan in 2018.485 Yet,
despite these early steps, more needs to be done. Pakistan has had a long-term relationship with the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups connected to Al Qaeda. As Bill Roggio of FDD has testified before Congress, “we can list dozens or scores of groups that Pakistan supports in India, in Afghanistan, groups that are designated terrorist organizations, groups that provide aid and support for Al Qaeda.”486 The Taliban continues to work closely with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, even supplying the terrorist group with explosives and other weaponry.487 Al Qaeda has even openly praised the Taliban and called upon Afghans to support and join the group.488
There can be no political solution to Afghanistan that defeats the Salafi-jihadi movement without stopping Pakistan’s continued support for the Taliban. The Task Force supports Hussain Haqqani and Lisa Curtis’s recommendation that the United States cut security and economic assistance to Pakistan until it upholds its commitments to stop support for the Taliban and Haqqani Network
. It should also consider sanctioning senior officials in the Pakistani defense and intelligence apparatus if they continue to support terrorism and efforts to destabilize Afghanistan. The United States
should also examine whether or not Pakistan meets the definition to be a State Sponsor of Terrorism.4