US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Saturday announced the intent to provide nearly $300 million of security assistance for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

“This includes $290.5 million to improve security relationships across the region,” State Department Spokes­person Heather Nauert said. The funding will cover projects in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Is this effort of the USA to maintain the USA's dominance, or, is it only to put a rein on China?

India is a country of 1.2 billion population with GDP growth of 10+ rate per year, and is moving forward steadily with its economy, technology, and military might. Given enough time India is well poised to surpass the USA in near future.

Why is the USA uneasy with China but not India?

  • Please add a summary of the article you link. The link is sure to die eventually and then your question will be completely meaningless. Aug 5, 2018 at 10:28
  • 5
    Seems like the question contains its own answer: security assistance fund. China actively threatens its neighbors - Tibet, Korea, Taiwan, seizure of islands historically claimed by other countries, &c. India doesn't. (Also suggest consulting a dictionary on the difference between reign, rein, and rain :-))
    – jamesqf
    Aug 5, 2018 at 17:43
  • "given enough time" is the key here. You do not worry so much about the current #6 as you do about the current #2... China GDP is about 5 times larger than India; even if the 10% is sustained (which is a really big assumption) it will take quite some time for India to get close to China...
    – SJuan76
    Aug 6, 2018 at 8:20
  • Is there any reason why they should be uneasy? Just because they surpass them in some meaningless statistic such as the GDP? I think the US is about as uneasy with India as they should be given that threat. I mean it's not nice to be surpassed, but that's it, isn't it? If you are unaware why the US would be uneasy with China (forget about India for a moment), perhaps consider asking that question first
    – Raditz_35
    Aug 7, 2018 at 10:44
  • 1
    You asked the question, I thought you might have a reason why you are asking it? Obviously if there is no reason why they should fear them, they don't. I mean do you want an answer to go through every possible reason why the US would be afraid of another country and state why this isn't the case for India? This cannot be done obviously
    – Raditz_35
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:17

5 Answers 5


Holdings of United States currency

India: $145 billion.
China: $3 trillion, down from almost $4 trillion.

Gross Domestic Product

India: $3 trillion nominal; $10 trillion Purchasing Power Parity.
China: $14 trillion nominal; $25 trillion PPP.

Bilateral trade deficit with the US

India: $23 billion.
China: $375 billion.

China's economy is bigger

On pretty much every measure, China's economy and its impact on the US is bigger than that of India. While it's true that India has high GDP growth, so does China. As recently as 2013, China had higher GDP growth than India (World Bank). By PPP GDP, China has already passed the US.

It's also worth noting that China acts in a predatory fashion in ways that India does not. For example, China monopolized the market in rare earths. Or the fact that China is the country with which the US has the largest trade deficit.

Beyond all that, India generally acts like an ally while China frequently acts like an enemy. This is not to say that India and the US never disagree or that China and the US never agree. But in general, India cooperates with the US on many levels while China and the US have not. Some of this is the US treating the two differently, but a lot is India and China behaving differently.

The US and India are not fighting over international ocean rights. The US (et. al.) and China are (South China Sea).

While it is possible that India may someday become a threat that is similar to what China does now, it also may stay a friend. And it's not definite that India will pass China. Yes, from 2014 to 2016, India had higher GDP growth than China. But China had higher GDP growth from 2000-2013. We don't know if India's lead is the new normal or just a blip like happened in 1999 or 1989-1990.

The European Union already has a bigger GDP than India, China, and the US. Yet the US does not compete with it as heavily as with China. In fact, the US still participates in a military alliance (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) with Europe (not quite the same countries as the EU).

Maintaining dominance vs. reining in

It's not clear that the US is trying to maintain dominance or rein in China. In the long run, China would be more dominant if it focused more of its economy on satisfying internal demand. In that sense, the current US trade position is helping China become more dominant. That's somewhat of the opposite of reining it in.

One could view the South China Sea disagreement as an attempt to rein in China, but it may not have that effect. During the Cold War, the competition between the USSR and US led to both sides creating ever improving weapons. Presumably China is responding similarly to the South China Sea, using it to justify higher military budgets. Again, somewhat of the opposite of reining it in.

The US could lower its trade deficit by giving more foreign aid (so long as it gives it in the form of US dollars). This would also tend to increase its influence with the recipients. Instead, it's China that has been giving more foreign aid. That's certainly not maintaining dominance on the US' part.

If the US has as its goal, maintaining dominance or reining in China, it is going about it quite badly. It seems far more like it is trying to pursue narrower goals. For example, it doesn't want to encourage countries to build fake islands so as to expand their sea holdings. That's problematic enough in the South China Sea, but what happens when Mexico or Cuba tries it in the Gulf of Mexico?

  • 2
    While the economic view is a very large factor, in the strategic view, the approach to human rights needs to be considered as well. Having a despotic regime gain a position of leadership is bound to increase and enable despotic and otherwise oppressive institutions worldwide.
    – grovkin
    Aug 12, 2018 at 21:16

China is the second biggest economy, a lot of focus on them is simply them being the most likely to surpass the U.S. in economic power. Another significant cause for the hostility can be traced back to Cold War era policies of containment. The U.S. is/was also allied with the pre-communist Chinese/Taiwanese government in what has become a complicated policy of both sides ignoring some amount of hostility towards each other for economic benefit.

China is also working to expand its sphere of influence in several different ways, some of which are quite hostile to U.S. interests. The man-made islands in the South China Sea that are an attempt to claim territory and exert control over shipping lanes is a movement against freedom of navigation that is a key pillar to U.S. trade. There is also the annexing of territory from smaller Asian nations such as Tibet that is generally condemned from most nations. China has also been investing heavily in African nations as they develop, which is a long term threat to the U.S. as a developed Africa more closely aligned with China means less trade for the U.S.

In contrast India is a Democratic nation that isn't openly hostile to many U.S. interests. India has potential to become as economically powerful as China is today, but they are also much more likely to be allied to with the U.S. in that growth. This provides the U.S. with the double benefit of pressuring China with a strong local competitor and mutually beneficial trade with India.

  • 1
    Also, you may mention the One Belt One Road program. This is a strategic threat to the USA. Basically, the Chinese want to tightly integrate economically all of Eurasia. That land mass is so huge, that basically America just look like a big Island. This is the greater threat to USA hegemony over the world.
    – xrorox
    Aug 6, 2018 at 16:43
  • 2
    @anonymous the US has laws which prevent it from outright bribing African leaders, while the Chinese government does whatever it takes to get their foot in the country. And bribing is the most effective way of establishing an effective relationship with corrupt dictators. Aug 12, 2018 at 7:38
  • 1
    @anonymous how can you be sure a bribe isn't involved? And unlike the Americans, the Chinese couldn't care less if their bribes are exposed one day as their government is in full control of their citizens opinions. Aug 12, 2018 at 8:05
  • The south China Sea islands issue isn't necessarily a threat to freedom of navigating for trade. It would just mean that that trade would require the implicit consent of China, rather than the USA (which is the current situation). China still needs maritime trade to function: it is wanting to make its trade not dependant on the US. The US obviously opposes anyone trying to threaten its complete dominance of the seas
    – PhillS
    Aug 12, 2018 at 8:29
  • 2
    @PhillS Thats a pretty blatantly slanted view. China is using the fake islands to contest waters that belong to other surrounding nations, or are recognized as international waters. The US does not own these waters. But its certainly in US interests to not just allow China to bully and cajole their neighbors into some sort of exclusive economic coalition.
    – Tal
    Aug 14, 2018 at 13:11

China is a dictatorship. India is a democracy. I'm not aware of a single genuine democracy that has been a long-term geopolitical opponent of the US. (There are some borderline cases, such as Turkey and, for a time, Venezuela.)

Additionally, India has never taken actions that are threatening to the US. They have no ICBMs and a smallish fleet. Their sole ongoing territorial conflict is with Pakistan. They don't appear to aspire to dominate any other country. Even if, in some hypothetical future, they were to surpass the US economically and militarily, there is no obvious reason why there would be a problem.

By contrast, there are a lot of potential conflict points with China. They claim ownership of Taiwan. They frequently support North Korea. They have been stealing US technology on a tremendous scale. They are still angry with Japan about World War 2. They have been brutally suppressive in Tibet and also against the Falun Gong.

  • But, India has refused to stop importing oil from Iran and financing their port.
    – user21304
    Aug 12, 2018 at 6:37
  • 1
    One can argue that Turkey is slipping from "genuine democracy" to "autocratic theocracy", to a degree, which is - not surprisingly - correllated to US relations change
    – user4012
    Jan 29, 2019 at 13:40

China, in short, is more disciplined and more aggressive. It has launched an unabashedly China-first policy under Xi. On the aggressive front, you could look at their trade policy which is characterized by theft of intellectual property, counterfeiting luxury brand names, and requiring companies to teach, in effect reverse engineer, manufacturing processes to do business there. China threatens war on it's neighbors regularly, has a world class miliatry force with increased spending, and is aggressive in the South China Sea annexing territory and what it claims are domestic waters. China is also aggressive if not openly hostile diplomatically, like requiring Obama to depart Air Force One out of the "ass of the plane".

Contrast that with India, which seems it can barely contain Pakistan aggression in the Kashmir and terrorism. And it's military seems less than world-class and somewhat incompetent, consider:

Among the problems Singh pointed to were the claim that the Army’s entire fleet of tanks is “devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks,”the suggestion that the country’s air defense were “97 percent obsolete,” and criticism that the Elite Special Forces was “woefully short” of “essential weapons.”

After the initial din died down, however, the import of the Army Chief’s letter gradually dawned on lawmakers asked the government and the Army to explain why the shortages haven’t been addressed. Indeed, the shortages are all the more baffling because India’s Defense Ministry reported it had spent its full quota of funds in each of the last three financial years, while the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said recently that between 2006 and 2010, India ranked first in terms of arms imports.

Head to head, India appears to be losing the battle with China too. For example, in the Maldives

...the Indian Ocean island chain where Beijing is building roads, bridges and a bigger airport, upstaging India which has been the country’s prime provider of military and civilian aid for decades.

  • @anonymous your question is a false dichotomy.
    – user9790
    Aug 12, 2018 at 1:46
  • @anonymous Is the US just supporting it's allies in the region, or is it trying to contain China? The answer is both. Because they are in both the US's interest.
    – user9790
    Aug 12, 2018 at 16:30
  • @anonymous That's why what you posted is a false dichotomy.
    – user9790
    Aug 12, 2018 at 19:57
  • it's military seems less than world-class and somewhat incompetent - It was when the Indo-China war happened in the 60s and lost to China. Since then it has upgraded its military, become a nuclear power, fought 3 wars with Pakistan (that is an ally of the US), with the Indian military defeating them soundly and even dismembering it to create the nation of Bangladesh. It is one of the few militaries in the world that has been trained by both the west and the Soviets, has actual battle experience and has upgraded its forces to fight battle on two fronts simultaneously (Pakistan and China).
    – sfxedit
    Aug 25, 2023 at 14:14

Numerous reasons:

  • India is an ally of the United States, The People's Republic of China is not. The People's Republic of China attacked and overthrew the US ally, Republic of China (Taiwan), who helped the US in World War II. How is India comparable on this point alone?
  • In a South Sea dispute the People's Republic of China cut off rare earth elements (it has basically a monopoly) to Japan for a few months. Japan is an ally of the US (post World War II) and messing with any of the US' allies tends to draw its wrath. Since this time, the tune toward the People's Republic of China has been changing and negatively.
  • The People's Republic of China is allied with North Korea and helped North Korea in the Korean War. Don't forget that South Korea is a US ally and the US has already fought one war protecting the country with the help of many other countries, like Australia, the UK, Canada, etc. The North Korea relationship is a negative factor for the People's Republic of China since they're helping a regime that has threatened South Korea. Heck, they've threatened Japan (historically, very stupid idea), another US ally.
  • While India may continue trading oil with Iran, this may not be perceived to be a threat to the US because there could be a deal going on. The US is expected to be a large producer of LNG/oil going forward, so the US may cut a favorable deal to India to help India, if it honors the Iran deal. Since India is large and growing, the US has to have realistic expectations about its energy needs and if it can't meet them on its own, it will have flexibility.
  • The People's Republic of China has had some conflict with Australia both politically and economically. India has not and has a good relationship with Australia.

Think of it personally: if you knew someone who went around punching your friends, at what point would you kick their butt, or threaten them? India is like the guy who's friendly and gets along with everyone. The People's Republic of China sometimes stirs the pot by picking a fight or supporting someone picking a fight. So, India and the People's Republic of China are not comparable.

  • While India may continue trading oil with Iran, this may not be perceived to be a threat to the US because there could be a deal going on. The US is expected to be a large producer of LNG/oil going forward, so the US may cut a favorable deal to India to help India, if it honors the Iran deal. Since India is large and growing, the US has to have realistic expectations about its energy needs and if it can't meet them on its own, it will have flexibility. --- you must be a Quora user. Too much speculation spoils the broth.
    – user21304
    Aug 14, 2018 at 19:39
  • 1
    The People's Republic of China attacked and overthrew the US ally, Republic of China (Taiwan) --- not true.
    – user21304
    Aug 14, 2018 at 19:45

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