Washington: The Pentagon leadership believes that it can maintain a positive relationship with India and China at the same time, a senior defence official has said.
"There is no conflict there, we can pursue both," the official said on the day that coincides with the visit of the Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie, who arrived here after a gap of nine years.
Given the strain in military ties between the two countries much significance is being attached to this visit, the first by a Chinese Defence Minister since 2003.
"In terms of our relationship with China and India we can and do maintain positive relationship with India and China at the same time," the defence department official said requesting anonymity as he was not permitted to speak on the record with the press.
"We are working to build a strategic partnership with India as we talk about in the defence strategic guidance," he said referring to the recent Pentagon document in which the Department of Defence talked about building strategic partnership with India.
And this strategic partnership with India, the official argued, is not in conflict with the type of military to military relationship that the US is seeking to develop with China or the larger go-operative partnership that the Obama administration is seeking with China based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.