In 2009, India and US began their first official-level dialogue on China and the Asia-Pacific. The Indian side was represented by Gautam Bambawale, then joint secretary in MEA and the US by the assistant secretary, Kurt Campbell.
Over the next couple of years, Campbell and Bambawale explored the growing convergences in their respective foreign and security policies for this region. That dialogue, the first of its kind between the US and India, set the stage for the 2015 Vision Statement between India and US,” said Bambawale. The Japan-India-US trilateral grouping began under their watch, which later became a summit-level exercise.
Kurt Campbell is due to be named the Indo-Pacific coordinator by US president-elect Joe Biden, and in that role, is likely to oversee the Biden administration’s approach to China and building up the Indo-Pacific policy.
While Campbell may have started the ball rolling in the first Obama administration, the second Obama administration did not give that measure of importance to the “pivot” or “rebalance”. For instance, the US gave China a pass over the PCA verdict on the South China Sea in 2016. Campbell’s successor in the State Department, Danny Russel, stopped the East Asia dialogue with India as well.
But in the past four years, the Trump administration sharpened the US view of China, effectively tearing up the conventional belief that a prosperous Beijing would inevitably be a more liberal China
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