US Top Diplomat: Indo-Pacific Strategy Success Is 'Impossible' Without INDIA
Category: India

The United States needs India to stand by its side for the success of its policy of a free and open Indo-Pacific zone, a top American diplomat said Monday noting that the Quad idea helped New Delhi find a position in the larger Indo-Pacific theatre. The new Indo-Pacific strategy, reflecting the realities of the modern world, focuses on democracy, free markets and values that India and its people share with the US and its people, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said in his remarks at the US-India Strategic Forum during the Third India US Leadership Summit. The summit was hosted by the US-India Strategic and Cooperation Forum002E

"In order to make this a success, we need to tap into the full scale of the country, including the scale of economics, the scale of security cooperation, and that is unlikely without India as the cornerstone of the strategy," Biegun said. "So, as important as I would like to think the United States is to this plan, it's not going to be a success for us without India standing side by side as well," Biegun said.

Observing that India has shown considerable leadership and interest in contributing to the Indo-Pacific policy that the US is pushing forward, the diplomat said that New Delhi and Washington have deepened their security cooperation. Both countries are in the process of seeking an even broader economic relationship, including through certain dimensions of trade liberalisation, he said. They are also working very closely in the security field, with India clearly indicating recently that it intends to invite Australia to participate in the Malabar naval exercises, which will be a major step forward in ensuring the freedom of movement and safety of the seas in the Indo-Pacific, he added.

"So, in many ways, across multiple dimensions, the US-India relationship is contributing to this, but you can also see it in the personal interactions between Indian leaders and American leaders. "Those partnerships have been built through various ideological structures and different political parties for many, many years. When you see our leaders together, you can tell that the wind is blowing in this direction in both countries, and that really will make us so much more effective in our strategies," Biegun said.

Responding to the issue, the U.S. diplomat said, "The QUAD, comprising the United States, India, Australia and Japan, is a fusion of democracies and also illuminates the sense of duty and ability of the four parties to discharge their obligations, expand the benefits of democracy, and enhance the benefits of economic growth, and extend the benefits of security throughout the region". All four of us, of course, are Pacific powers," he said.

As India has grown and its interests have grown, New Delhi recognises that it can not be a passive player in the way it develops throughout the Indo-Pacific, he added. "So it's a real coincidence that there are a number of factors underpinning the historic shared value of democracy that I think is what the Quad really illustrates. The Quad isn't exclusive. I think there's plenty of reason to bring other countries into this discussion as well," he said.

According to Mr. Biegun, there will be a ministerial meeting with the Quad in Delhi this fall. "Quad 's idea really helped India find a place in the Indo-Pacific-the larger Indo-Pacific theatre. It is also clearly in our interest to have India as a partner in these issues, "said the US diplomat.

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