Closer Ties with India, China No Threat to Either: US





By Arun Kumar

Washington, Jul 2 (IANS): The United States says its closer relations with India and China should not be seen as a threat to either as all three play an important role in regional stability.

"A safer, more secure India that is closer to the United States should not be seen a threat to China, and vice versa," Michele Flournoy, the US undersecretary of defence for policy said Thursday.

"Indeed, all three countries play an important role in regional stability," she told the Asia Society here, calling Sino-Indian relationship as vitally important to the health of the region and the globe.

"The United States recognizes and welcomes the growing cooperation between India and China on security affairs in recent years," Flournoy said.

"And both India and the United States seek a closer relationship with China, while encouraging Beijing to be more transparent about its military capabilities and intentions."

Strongly backing India's involvement in Afghanistan, Flournoy said India is a good partner in peacekeeping efforts around the globe and within Asia and both nations are committed to the long-term stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

"We highly value India's role and, frankly, the sacrifices that India has made in support of this mission in building economic and social opportunities in Afghanistan," she said.

"We see India's continued involvement in Afghanistan's development as a key part of that country's future success," she said.

"India is playing a positive role in Afghanistan's economic and social development and we know that help will continue."

Flournoy also welcomed efforts for Pakistan to ease tensions both with India and Afghanistan and hoped the three nations can work together. "They all have a stake in the stability of the region and we have strategic partnerships with all three countries," she said.

"One of the things we continue to try to press is our belief that that common stake in regional security can actually bring them to a place of cooperation that they have not experienced before. But it's not going to be easy."

India has provided $1.2 billion in aid to Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001 in the US-led campaign. But Pakistan is deeply suspicious of India's role in Afghanistan.


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