The carrier, the USS Nimitz, and its strike group deployed to the area in mid-July to conduct an exercise with the Indian Navy in pursuit of a "free and open Indo-Pacific," according to a statement by the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet, whose headquarters are in Japan. But as tensions soar between India and China, two nuclear-armed neighbors, the joint operation took on a greater significance.
As the rivalry between India and China intensifies, the United States and India have taken their shared anger toward Beijing and forged stronger diplomatic and military ties that could alter the balance of power in the region.
"Both the U.S. and India have recognized the importance of the other," said Nisha Biswal, an assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs during the Obama administration. "It's not a surprise that the Indians are looking for like-minded strategic and security partners."
But some worry that the Trump administration is turning a blind eye to India's rights abuses against Muslims under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prioritizing military and geopolitical alliances over all else.
"They are warming relations under the same authoritarian banner," said Wasim Dar, an activist in the disputed territory of Kashmir. "They're prioritizing military, or hegemony, over any kind of human rights or political freedom."
India and China have engaged in increasing aggression in recent months.
"Nobody's backing down. They're going to go through the winter like this," said Vikram Singh, senior adviser to the Asia program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. "Now you've got a situation where there's a whole bunch more flash points at a tactical level."
Human rights experts say it is troubling that the United States talks so strongly about human rights abuses in China but is willing to engage in deeper diplomatic and strategic ties with India, where similar situations are occurring.
Refineries that once processed oil for export are rusting hulks, leaking crude that blackens shorelines and coats the water in an oily sheen.
Fuel shortages have brought the country to a standstill. At gas stations, lines go on for miles.
Venezuela's colossal oil sector, which shaped the country and the international energy market for a century, has come to a near halt, with production reduced to a trickle by years of gross mismanagement and U.S. sanctions. The collapse is leaving behind a destroyed economy and a devastated environment and, many analysts say, bringing to an end the era of Venezuela as an energy powerhouse.
The country that a decade ago was the largest producer in Latin America, earning about $90 billion a year from oil exports, is expected to net about $2.3 billion by this year's end — less than the aggregate amount that Venezuelan migrants who fled the country's economic devastation will send back home to support their families, according to Pilar Navarro, a Caracas, Venezuela-based economist.
The decline has diminished beyond recognition a country that just a decade ago rivaled the United States for regional influence. It is also unraveling a national culture defined by oil, a source of cash that once seemed endless; it financed monumental public works and pervasive graft, generous scholarships and flashy shopping trips to Miami.
Crippling gasoline shortages have led to an outbreak of dozens of daily protests across most Venezuelan states in recent weeks.
More than 5 million Venezuelans, or 1 in 6 residents, have fled the country since 2015, creating one of the world's greatest refugee crises, according to the United Nations. The country now has the highest poverty rate in Latin America, overtaking Haiti this year, according to a recent study by Venezuela's three leading universities.