`Indo-US ties not to counterbalance China`

Obama`s trip to India was to support its expanding role in global institutions, says a US official.

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010, 09:09 AM IST

Washington/ New York: President Barack Obama`s
enthusiasm for a stronger Indo-US relationship is not to
"counterbalance" China`s growing influence over Asia, a top
American official has said.

"I don`t think you heard anybody say that in the
course of the President`s three-day visit (to India), we`re
looking to counterbalance China in any way," Robert Blake,
Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia,
Robert Blake, told journalists in New York and Washington
during a digital video press conference.

"The President repeatedly made clear that we want a
positive, cooperative and constructive relations with China in
the same way that India does," he said.

Blake asserted that Obama`s trip was to support India`s
expanding role in global institutions and Asian institutions,
but the backing is not at China`s cost.

"I think this is much more about how to expand India`s
role in some of these global institutions and in some of the
Asian institutions, and we expressed clearly our support for
that. But we do not see that growing role as coming at the
expense of China," he said, pointing that Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton had recently said that "we do not seek to
contain China."

After Obama endorsed India`s bid for Permanent
Membership in the UN Security Council, US media pointed out
that this was to counterbalance China.

"By endorsing India for a permanent seat on the
United Nations Security Council, President Obama on Monday
signaled the US` intention to create a deeper partnership of
the world`s two largest democracies that would expand
commercial ties and check the influence of an increasingly
assertive China," New York Times said.

The Los Angeles Times reported "the endorsement, though
of little practical value at the moment, is aimed at boosting
relations with India, and is a signal of the administration`s
vision of Asia at a time when China`s influence is growing."

Acknowledging former President George Bush`s trip for
the civil nuclear deal, Blake asserted New Delhi and
Washington were entering into a "more mature" relationship
following Obama`s visit.

"It will mark the first time that we have real embarked
on serious specific global cooperation," Blake said, ticking
off several areas such as agriculture, cooperation in
Afghanistan, women`s development and maritime cooperation.

"This is really a global strategic partnership now and
we`ve started to put the flesh on that in very concrete ways,"
he added.

PTI