China perceives a rising India as a "rival" and wants to constrain its strategic partnership with the US, its allies, and with other democracies, the State Department said in a report, emphasising that Beijing intends to displace America as the world's foremost power.
Coming ahead of the transition of power from Donald Trump's administration to President-elect Joe Biden's administration after the November 3 US presidential election, the detailed policy document highlights that China is undermining the security, autonomy and economic interests of many nations in the region.
"China perceives rising India as a rival and seeks to impel it to accommodate Beijing's ambitions by engaging economically while constraining New Delhi's strategic partnership with the US, Japan, Australia and its relations with other democracies," the report said.
"China is undermining the security, autonomy, and economic interests of many others in the region such as member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including those in the vital Mekong Region, as well as the nations of the Pacific Islands," the report added.
The 70-page report states that awareness has been growing in the US - and in nations around the world - that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has triggered a new era of great-power competition. "Yet few discern the pattern in China's inroads within every region of the world, much less the specific form of dominance to which the party aspires," said the report.
The CCP aims not merely at preeminence within the established world order an order that is grounded in free and sovereign nation-states, flows from the universal principles on which America was founded, and advances US national interests but to fundamentally revise world order, placing the People's Republic of China (PRC) at the center and serving Beijing's authoritarian goals and hegemonic ambitions.
"In the face of the China challenge, the US must secure freedom," said the report. China, it said, seeks to diminish US influence by fostering a sense in the region's nations that China's dominance is inevitable. "Prime targets include US treaty-based allies Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines as well as emerging strategic partners such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan," it said.
The People's Liberation Army, the report said, recently provoked skirmishes along its disputed border with India, which killed dozens on both sides, and remains in a tense standoff with India's military.
Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh since May 5. The situation deteriorated after the June 15 Galwan Valley clashes in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed and an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers died.
The report also highlighted Beijing's hard relations with Taiwan, which it claims as its territory. "Beijing menaces democratic Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, intending to reunify Taiwan with the Mainland by force if necessary. And the PLA Navy and Chinese Coast Guard increasingly challenge Japan's administrative control of the Senkaku Islands," it said.
"The Trump administration achieved a fundamental break with conventional wisdom. It concluded that the CCP's resolute conduct and self-professed goals require the US and other countries to revise assumptions and develop a new strategic doctrine to address the primacy and magnitude of the China challenge," according to the document.
The report also highlighted the outbreak of contagious coronavirus from China's Wuhan city. The disease has so far infected 56,178, 674 people and killed 1,348,348 others across the world. The US is the worst affected country.
"The CCP's recklessness in allowing the novel coronavirus born in Wuhan to develop into a global pandemic coupled with the concerted disinformation campaign that Beijing undertook to conceal China's culpability should put doubts to rest. Yet many people lack a proper understanding of the character and scope of the China challenge, it said.