Indo-US ties should not be seen as threat to China: Pentagon

Last Updated: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 22:30

Washington: The security of Asia`s
dominant powers, India and China, cannot be viewed as a zero
sum game, a top Pentagon official said on Thursday, asserting that
Indo-US proximity should not be seen a threat to China, and
vice versa.

Noting the Obama administration`s commitment to
strengthening regional partnerships, Under Secretary of
Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, said it no longer makes
sense to discuss the increasingly interconnected region in
terms of "East Asian" security, or "South Asian" security.
"It also means that the security of Asia`s two
dominant powers can no longer be viewed as a zero sum game,"
Flournoy said in a major policy speech on Indo-US defense
relationship on `Investing in the Future of US-India Defense
Relations,` at the Washington-chapter of the Asia Society.

"A safer, more secure India that is closer to the
United States should not be seen a threat to China, and vice
versa. Indeed, all three countries play an important role in
that region`s stability," she said.

The US, she said, welcomes the growing cooperation
between India and China on security affairs in recent years
and both India and the US seek a closer relationship with
China, while encouraging Beijing to be more transparent about
its military capabilities and intentions.

The Pentagon official said: "I am here to tell you
that we see India as far more than a vital partner on these
issues... It is also an indispensable partner in addressing
all of the regional challenges we face".

"And in the coming years, I believe India will
strengthen its role in the security of its region," she said
adding that India`s success was very much in America`s
national interest.

She said India has long been a "bellwether" for the
challenges and aspirations of a host of other nations inspired
by its success, a fact that makes its success more important.
She noted that critics in Washington and New Delhi
have suggested that the Obama Administration is not as
committed to US-India relations as its predecessors were, and
that it views India solely through the Af-Pak lens.

"Such criticisms miss the mark completely. US-India
relationship is not built on, and cannot be sustained on,
grand gestures or brief moments of crisis, but on shared
interests and values," she noted.

She also lauded India`s "positive" role in rebuilding
efforts in Afghanistan, and said the US values the sacrifices
of Indian citizens in development efforts in that country.

Looking forward to her first visit to India in the
coming weeks, Flournoy said Pentagon is committed to further
strengthening its ties with India through the enhancement of
its defense relationship.

"This bond is grounded in common democratic values and
converging interests that make India and US natural partners,"
Flournoy said.

The US and India have an overarching shared interest
in promoting global stability and security.

"Increasingly our specific security interests are
converging," she said, asserting that the US sees India`s
involvement in Afghanistan as crucial to that country`s
success.

Flournoy said both the US and Indian economies rely on
effective maritime security to preserve free passage in the
Indian Ocean and surrounding waterways and have a mutual
interest in maritime security.

Both countries also have an abiding interest in
countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and are both committed to promoting global stability and
security.
India`s post-conflict capacity building efforts, she
said, span the globe, and it remains one of staunchest
supporters of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

"Within South Asia, both of our nations are committed
to the long-term stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"We know as the US mission in Afghanistan evolves, we
must continue to provide robust support for Afghan stability,
governance and development," she said.

Noting that India is playing a positive role in
Afghanistan`s economic and social development, she said: "We
highly value India`s role-- and the sacrifices Indian citizens
have made-- in building economic and social opportunities in
Afghanistan".

"We see India`s continued involvement in Afghanistan`s
development as a key part of that country`s future success,"
she said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 22:30

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