Pence bats for stronger India-US ties, Jaishankar seeks modus vivendi with China

Amid the persisting India-China border impasse, US Vice President Mike Pence has assured India that Washington will continue to stand firm with New Delhi. India, on its part, pitched for equilibrium in its relations with China which have been stressed by the recent border standoff.

Speaking at a webinar organized by the US-based US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Mr Pence struck a rhapsodic tone about the current and future trajectory of India-US strategic partnership, saying that the “best (in India-US relations) was yet to come.”

“We want to see a future of freedom in the Indo Pacific and we want to see a future of freedom across Asia,” Mr Pence said.

“As we (India and the US) stand more closely together for security in our economies, we believe that that will only strengthen the case for a future of freedom. We want good relations with every country in the world including China and President (Donald) Trump has very good relations with (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping). But we are going to continue to stand firm with our allies in the region like India,” Mr Pence said.

Modus Vivendi with China 

Speaking at the same webinar, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar underlined that the ties between India and China are “extremely consequential” for both the countries and the rest of the world. He stressed on the imperative for the two sides to reach some kind of “understanding or equilibrium”   and forge a modus vivendi to optimise the potential of this relationship.

In response to questions posed by Tim Roemer, India’s former ambassador to the US, Mr Jaishankar said that like every other country in the world, India is also cognisant of the rise of China but added that India’s rise has also been a global story.

“Obviously like every other country in the world, we are very cognisant of the rise of China. We are an immediate neighbour of China. So obviously if you are a neighbour, you are very directly impacted by the rise of what I say in my book a potential global power,” he said, referring to his book “The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World”.

Mr Jaishankar underscored that India too has been rising but it may not be to the same degree and at the same pace as China.

“But if you look at the last 30 years, India’s rise is also a major global story. If you have two countries, two societies with a billion people each with the history and culture that they have, it is very important that they reach some kind of understanding or equilibrium between them,” he said, without referring to any contentious issue.

“And this is a practical world. If a country is going to get more powerful, we are going to see its influence in geographies we have not seen before, we are going to see activities and capabilities that we have not seen before,” he added.

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