Kolkata, March 11: Describing the Sino-Indian and Indo-US relations as complex and comprehensive, US ambassador Richard Verma asserted on Wednesday that strong ties between New Delhi and Washington were in the interest of the world.
Addressing a two-day seminar on 'Building Pan Asian Connectivity', Verma lamented South Asia's negligible intra-regional commerce and called upon India to address the economic anomaly for better connectivity for the "least connected" region on earth.
"India and China and the US and China, both are very complicated and comprehensive relationships. There are elements of competition and cooperation in our relationships. We have our economic interests, but when we have security concerns or human rights concerns we raise them," said Verma.
"A strong Indo-US relationship is in the interest of the region and the world and it is not directed to any other country, particularly not directed at China," asserted the envoy.
Asserting that a growing Indian economy was in the interest of the world, Verma said the US was collaborating with India on several fronts including in the sphere of infrastructural development.
"The US can't be the only engine that pulls the global economy out of the death bed it has been in for the past 10 years. So, the more the Indian economy does better, the more this region grows, that is good for the US, the Europe and the world.
"There is a tremendous need for infrastructural development here, in sanitation, in cities, airports, railways...and we are working closely with the India government on this. We are working on identifying opportunities for American companies in India where they can participate," said Verma.
Observing that South Asia intra-regional commerce comprised only 5 percent of total global trade, and India traded mostly with the US, Europe and the Middle East than with its immediate South Asian neighbors, Verma said the addressing the economic anomaly was challenging
"Addressing this economic anomaly will involve overcoming some challenges, but if we do it will also create enormous opportunities for the region that has been called the least connected region on earth," said Verma.
He said developing connectivity in South Asia has challenges in forms of inclusive economic growth, good governance, and climate change.
"For connectivity to be meaningful and sustainable, ordinary people - all people - have to benefit. Good economic governance, simpler and more transparent trade and economic policies are also keys to expanding trade in the region," added Verma.