Indo-US ties should not be seen as threat to China: Pentagon
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 01, 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 01, 2010, 22:30


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