American people overwhelmingly back India over China and prefer the US government to support New Delhi in possible Indo-China military and economic conflict, according to a survey by Australia-based think tank Lowy Institute.
The survey published on The Interpreter by Lowy Institute explores US public views on potential military or economic strife between China to India.
The web survey was conducted on a sample of 1,012 American respondents on July 7. The respondents were randomly assigned one of two versions of a prompt —‘If India and China were engaged in military conflict, would you support the US aiding India, China, or neither side?’ or ‘If India and China were engaged in economic conflict, would you support the US aiding India, China, or neither side?’
According to results published by the think tank, 63.6 per cent of respondents would have the US support neither India nor China if they were to engage in military conflict with each other, compared to 60.6 per cent regarding economic conflict with each other.
For those who did choose to support one of the countries, however, it was overwhelmingly in favour of India.
“For a military conflict between India and China, 32.6 per cent preferred that the US support India, as opposed to 3.8 per cent who preferred that the US support China. For an economic conflict, 36.3 per cent of respondents preferred US support for India, while 3.1 per cent preferred the US support for China,” according to survey result.
The survey was conducted amid heightened tension between India and China as troops of both countries are engaged in a military standoff since May. While the US has blamed China of taking “incredibly aggressive action” along the Line of Actual Control, saying Beijing had a pattern of instigating territorial disputes.
The think tank said China’s broader actions in the region, especially as it thwarts democratic efforts in Hong Kong and pressures Taiwan, could similarly push Americans to have a more favourable view of India in any conflict.
“China’s broader actions in the region, especially as it thwarts democratic efforts in Hong Kong and pressures Taiwan, could similarly push Americans to have a more favourable view of India in any conflict,” it said.
“The challenge for Indian officials, as well as US officials sympathetic to India, is to find ways to increase American public knowledge of China-India disputes and the importance of India as a strategic partner,” it added.