India enjoys strategic autonomy in ties: Blake



Washington: Despite a strategic engagement that has brought the two countries into closer convergence, the US does not always expect India to toe its line and recognises New Delhi's strategic autonomy, a top official has said.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said in his address to a Washington-based prestigious think-tank that the US and India can together will influence the course of the 21st century.

Blake said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the third round of Indo-US Strategic Dialogue is scheduled to be held on June 13, which would be co-chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna.

Under the Strategic Dialogue, the two governments will have substantive exchanges in more than 20 distinct policy areas this year.

The strategic dialogue, he said, has resulted in greater convergence between the two countries and improved trade and business relationship.

Blake, however, acknowledged that America's strategic dialogue with India is different from others and conceded that the United States does not expect India to toe the American line all the time.

"Our strategic engagement with India has brought us into much closer strategic convergence on a range of important issues. We will not always agree and India will maintain its strategic autonomy.

"But our broadening consultations, our common values, and the bipartisan support for expanding our relations suggest that we are likely to work ever more closely in the years to come," Blake said.

PTI