US President Joe Biden in his maiden 'Interim National Security Strategic Guidance' has asserted that it will be USA that will set international agenda and not an ‘assertive and authoritarian’ China and called for strengthening partnership with India besides ensuring supply chains for pharmaceuticals are not overtly reliant on overseas networks prone to disruption.

The Guidance pointed out that beyond US core alliances, it will also double down on building partnerships throughout the world with special focus on Indo-Pacific. “As we do, we will recognize that our vital national interests compel the deepest connection to the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere.”

The Guidance issued less than two months after the new presidential inauguration described China as the "only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system".

The Biden Administration has in the Guidance claimed that by restoring US credibility and reasserting forward-looking global leadership, it will ensure that America, not a more assertive and authoritarian China, sets the international agenda, working alongside countries like India to shape new norms and agreements globally that advance its interests and reflect its values.

It lays "out a vision for how the United States can seize what we view as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to renew America's advantages at home and abroad," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday.

The document called for strengthening partnership with India and working alongside New Zealand, as well as Singapore, Vietnam, and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, to advance shared objectives. The document also called for investing in critical stockpiles and “ensure that supply chains for pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other critical materials required during a crisis are not overly reliant on overseas networks prone to disruption”.

"The most effective way for America to out-compete a more assertive and authoritarian China over the long-term is to invest in our people, our economy, and our democracy. By restoring US credibility and reasserting forward-looking global leadership, we will ensure that America, not China, sets the international agenda, working alongside others to shape new global norms and agreements that advance our interests and reflect our values," the Guidance affirmed.

The Guidance, Psaki said, is designed to communicate the administration's strategic approach and central priorities for national security policy. "It describes the changed strategic landscape the US faces today and affirms our enduring core national interests, including protecting the security of the American people, expanding economic prosperity and opportunity, and realising and defending the democratic values at the heart of the American way of life," Psaki said.

The Guidance is to help agencies plan budgets and strategies while the administration continues to work on a more detailed National Security Strategy. One of the key themes is that the US has to engage with the world. “Diplomacy is back. Alliances are back,” Biden said in the document.

The US has to take a leadership role “in promoting shared norms and forge new agreements on emerging technologies, space, cyberspace, health and biological threats, climate and the environment, and human rights,” said the Guidance.

The Defence Department will have to set “clear priorities” in its budget, according to the document. The administration will work with Congress to shift spending “from unneeded legacy platforms and weapons systems” to cutting-edge technologies and capabilities, the document said. "By bolstering and defending our unparalleled network of allies and partners, and making smart defence investments, we will also deter Chinese aggression and counter threats to our collective security, prosperity, and democratic way of life," the Guidance said.

At its root, the White House said that ensuring national security requires them to defend and nurture the underlying sources of American strength, including its people, economy, national defence, and democracy at home; promote a favourable distribution of power to deter and prevent adversaries from directly threatening the US and its allies, inhibiting access to the global commons, or dominating key regions; and lead and sustain a stable and open international system, underwritten by strong democratic alliances, partnerships, multilateral institutions, and rules.

It said that the US will position itself, diplomatically and militarily, to defend its allies. "We will support China's neighbours and commercial partners in defending their rights to make independent political choices free of coercion or undue foreign influence. We will promote locally-led development to combat the manipulation of local priorities," said the Guidance.