Amid a raging debate over the US’ ‘pivot to Asia’ policy, a top aide of President Barack Obama says Washington not only supports India’s rise, but fervently supports it.
From India’s ‘Look East,’ policy and supporting reforms in Burma to trilateral cooperation with Japan to promoting maritime security, the US and Indian interests converge in the Asia-Pacific, says US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon.
“US and Indian interests powerfully converge in the Asia-Pacific, where India has much to give and much to gain,” he said at Asia Society in New York March 11. “Southeast Asia begins in Northeast India, and we welcome India’s efforts to ‘Look East,’ from supporting reforms in Burma to trilateral cooperation with Japan to promoting maritime security,” he said.
Donilon struck an upbeat note on the booming India-ASEAN trade, which has surged by by 37 percent to $80 billion.
As part of US strategy for the Asia-Pacific, Donilon underlined that Obama “considers US relations with India-the world’s largest democracy-to be ‘one of the defining partnerships of the twenty-first century.”
“From Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh’s visit in 2009 to the President’s trip to India in 2010, the United States has made clear at every turn that we don’t just accept India’s rise, we fervently support it,” he said.
Outlining the US’ multidimensional strategy in the region, Donilon said the US was seeking “to sustain a stable security environment and a regional order rooted in economic openness, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for universal rights and freedoms.”
The five key pillars of this strategy include: strengthening alliances; deepening partnerships with emerging powers; building a stable, productive, and constructive relationship with China; empowering regional institutions; and helping to build a regional economic architecture that can sustain shared prosperity.
The Obama Administration has worked to make its rebalance to the Asia-Pacific a reality because the region’s success in the century ahead -and the United States’ security and prosperity in the 21st century-still depend on the presence and engagement of the United States in Asia, he said.
Washington, however, has clarified that the much-talked about rebalancing act does not mean diminishing ties to important partners in any other region, containing China or seeking to dictate terms to Asia.
“We are a resident Pacific power, resilient and indispensable,” he said. During “Obama’s second term, this vital, dynamic region will continue to be a strategic priority,” he added.
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