The Trump administration has proposed $1.5 billion in budgetary allocation for 2021 fiscal for the crucial Indo-Pacific region, which it said was part of its efforts to ensure that the region remains "free, open, and independent of malign Chinese influence".
"The future of the Indo-Pacific, which contains roughly half the world's population and many of the fastest-growing economies, is critical to US security and long-term economic interests," the White House said in its budgetary proposal for the financial year 2021, beginning October 1, 2020.
"The Budget provides $1.5 billion for the Indo-Pacific, reflecting a strong Administration commitment to ensuring that the region remains free, open, and independent of malign Chinese influence," it said.
This funding supports democracy programs, strengthens security cooperation, improves economic governance and facilitates private sector-led economic growth, the White House said.
A total of $30 million is included in the budget for the global engagement centre dedicated to countering foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation from China, it added.
The budget also provides $0.8 billion for the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for private sector development internationally to support corporate growth in less-developed countries and to provide a transparent, high-quality alternative to "predatory Chinese international lending" in the Indo-Pacific and other strategic regions, it said.
In the budgetary proposals, the Pentagon alleged that Beijing continued to violate the sovereignty of Indo-Pacific nations and expand its control abroad under the pretense of the Belt and Road infrastructure investments.
According to the Pentagon, in the Indo-Pacific, the Department of Defense (DoD) is strengthening and evolving US partnerships into a security architecture that helps uphold a "free and open" order.
"With India, DoD is expanding military-to-military cooperation and improving interoperability, including by establishing a new tri-service amphibious exercise, TIGER TRIUMPH," the Pentagon said.