Raising the bar for the India-US ties, US Republican Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate, has urged the two countries to move beyond “transactional relationship” and fully commit to the promise of shared strategic goals, including creating an inclusive order in the Asia-Pacific region.
“If India and the United States are to build a truly strategic partnership, we must each commit to it and defend it in equal measure. We must each build the public support needed to sustain our strategic priorities,” McCain said in a major speech on India on the Senate floor June 26.
In a speech that indicates the US’ enthusiasm to work with the new Indian leadership, McCain said: “I want Prime Minister Modi to succeed, because I want India to succeed.” McCain is expected to travel to Delhi early July, his first trip after the installation of the new government in India.
The US has warmed up to the new Indian prime minister, and is keenly awaiting to discuss a gamut of bilateral and global issues during Modi’s visit to Washington in September.
The senator proposed three strategic interests that India and the US share, and underlined that these should be prioritised for a reinvigorated partnership. “First, to shape the development of South Asia as a region of sovereign, democratic states that contribute to one another’s security and prosperity.”
“Second, to create a preponderance of power in the Asia-Pacific region that favours free societies, free markets, free trade, and free commons,” he said.
“And finally, to strengthen a liberal international order and an open global economy that safeguard human dignity and foster peaceful development,” McCain said.
According to the former presidential candidate, India and the US have not been reaching their full potential as strategic partners over the past few years. “Too often recently, we have slipped back into a transactional relationship – one defined more by competitive concession-seeking than by achieving shared strategic goals. We need to lift our sights again,” he noted.
The US, he said, was not looking to limit India’s rise, but encourage it through an entrenched partnership that addresses a number of diverse concerns, including defeating terrorism and extremism, securing global energy supplies, and sustaining global economic growth.
In a veiled allusion to China, McCain spoke of India’s potential to work with like-minded powers in Asia, especially the US alias including Japan, Australia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam to create an Asia-Pacific that favours free societies and a rule-based international order.
“It is my hope that Prime Minister Modi and his government will recognise how a deeper strategic partnership with the United States serves India’s national interests, especially in light of current economic and geopolitical challenges,” he said.
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