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India plays a critical role in US strategy: Blake

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : With the centre of geopolitics moving toward Asia, India plays a critical role in US strategy, says a US official suggesting anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation with India and China.

While hailing democratic India as a positive force in Asia, it insisted that Washington should also work with China, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said here Wednesday.

In a speech on US regional strategy, he said Washington’s “strategic relations with India will shape the world we live in, as the world settles into the still young, and at times turbulent, 21st century”.

Noting that naval power by Britain in the 19th century and the US in the 20th century had helped ensure global commerce, Blake said: “Perhaps it will be the cooperation of the American, Indian and Chinese navies that ensure global commercial routes are protected and enhanced in the 21st century.”

“It is for this very reason that eliminating the scourge of piracy could be a natural way for the United States, India and China to begin to cooperate at sea,” Blake said at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Echoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks in a speech in Chennai in July saying that New Delhi “has the potential to positively shape the future” of the region, Blake called India a “pillar of stability” that can “help ensure that the Asia of the 21st century is one defined by open markets, open societies and open governance”.

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