Emerging global player India essential to solving regional challenges: US

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Describing India as an emerging global player, a US official has said that President Barack Obama looks forward to his trip to a nation that is essential to solving regional challenges, including Afghanistan.

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“As we’ve said many times, it is a vitally important relationship to the region and to the world,” Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Phillip J. Crowley told reporters Thursday. “The world’s oldest democracy and largest democracy should have constructive relations, and we do.”

While the agenda is still being developed for Obama’s trip “there will be – there’s always deliverables, as we call them, when you have presidential travel to critical countries,” he said.

The official said he anticipated a broad agenda, but he wouldn’t be surprised if issues like the India’s nuclear liability bill, US export controls list and India future role in Afghanistan are part of that discussion.

“India, as an emerging global player, will be essential to solving challenges in the region, Afghanistan being one, and challenges globally, climate change being one,” Crowley said.

In Afghanistan, US is pursuing a regional strategy, he said, “which is why we have expanded our discussions with other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other countries in the region, and we’re not ruling out cooperation with Iran when it comes to Afghanistan.”

“This is a regional challenge and we expect that key countries in the region, including India, will develop their own relationship with Afghanistan, Crowley said. “As we’ve said to many countries, this cannot be seen within a zero-sum calculation.”

“So we want to have constructive relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, want to have constructive relations between Afghanistan and India, we want to have constructive relations between Afghanistan and Iran and other countries in the region.”

The US, Crowley said, had talked about Afghanistan with India, with Pakistan, with other Central Asian republics, and in each case, it was promoting a regional agenda.

“We want to see increased commerce among these countries. We believe if you develop trading relationships, if you develop economic interests, that can have an impact on reducing regional tensions.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])