Indo-US ties key to world order: Burns
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 00:04
Pune: Hailing India as one of the most important nations in current global scenario, the US on Friday said the strategic engagement between the two nations was key to ensure a peaceful and prosperous international order, apart from benefits to each other.

"The story of how we work together to ensure a peaceful and prosperous international order is as ambitious as it is profound. It is a deeply strategic endeavour that we can and must pursue together. It is work that will define a generation," Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns said addressing a gathering at Pune University.

Calling for further enhancing cooperation between the two countries, he said both India and the US can contribute in building a more secure, stable, democratic and just global system.

"Across the world, I believe that India and America with so many converging interests, shared values and common concerns are natural partners in building a more secure, stable, democratic and just global system.

"India can make a decisive contribution to what Secretary Clinton has called 'the global architecture of cooperation' to solve problems that no one country can solve on its own," he said.

Noting that world economy was going through a turbulent phase, he complimented the reform process in India and said it encourages the Indian government to continue its domestic reform agenda and facilitate greater foreign investment.

"This reform process is good for India, and good for the world. Over time, we look forward to India playing an eventual role in our vision of trans-Pacific economic cooperation," he said.

"We see our efforts to open markets as complementary and converging, and encourage the Indian government to continue its domestic reform agenda to facilitate greater foreign investment and market access in tandem with its regional economic integration efforts," Burns said.

Calling India as an essential part of US's vision for an economically integrated Asia-Pacific region, he said, "Indeed, we are counting on India's rise as a global power ? one that engages from the Middle East and East Asia to Africa and beyond."

"The Obama Administration has high hopes for the US-India relationship, and we are working hard to ensure that our ambitions are matched by results," he said

Observing that Asia-Pacific region was emerging as the epicentre of economic growth, innovation and global trade, he said "the question is whether we are doing as much as we can to ensure that our partnership in Asia realises its full promise. I believe the honest answer is: not yet."

"We both have much to learn from each other, and dialogue offers an opportunity to identify new areas of cooperation and to address areas of disagreement. We are also launching a new US-India-Japan trilateral consultation on regional issues," he said.

"America's vision for the 21st century has at its heart an Asia-Pacific built on security, prosperity and dignity for all nations and people. That vision will be impossible without a strong American partnership with a rising India," he said.

Acknowledging India's growing maritime capabilities, he said the US is interested in working with India to combat various challenges in the Indian Ocean Region.

"India's strong presence across the Indian and Pacific Oceans is a source of comfort and affirms its potential as a net security provider in the maritime domain," he said.

"We welcome and support India's growing naval capacity and modernisation and its engagement across Asia.

"...the United States is interested in working with India as we develop our own approach to the variety of opportunities and challenges in the Indian Ocean region," Burns said.

Complimenting India's maritime role in recent years, Burns said New Delhi is demonstrating its growing maritime capabilities with a robust counter-piracy approach that serves common regional interests.

"As a founding member of the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, India has shown great leadership in the efforts to confront and roll back piracy that emanates from Somalia and threatens trade flows to and from Asia," he said.

"As the United States expands its role in countering piracy, whether in the Gulf of Aden or the Straits of Malacca, we will look for increased opportunities to partner with India, alongside our traditional allies, new and emerging partners, and with ASEAN," he added.

Rejecting observations that US's interest in Asia is linked to containing China, he said Washington strongly believes that a "thriving China is good for China, good for the United States, and good for India."

"The 21st century Asia-Pacific we seek is one in which India, the United States, China and all the states of this region and beyond enjoy good relations," he said.

Showering praise on India, Burns said the country's synthesis of high economic growth and multi-party democracy could not be more relevant in a "region where debates rage about the value of democracy to development."

"Americans look at India and see a pluralistic, multi-party democracy, a place of innovation and openness, a success story that offers hope to societies wracked by political turmoil and sectarian or ethnic divides," he said.

Talking about Burma, he hoped that the Indian government will use its historical friendship and relations with the neighbouring country to engage its civil society and continue to encourage concrete action on political and economic reform and national reconciliation.


First Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 00:04

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