Obama Administration making strategic bet on India: US official

Washington, July 25: The Obama administration is making a "strategic bet" on India as it has a vital role to play at the global stage, a top American official has said as the US moves towards implementing its "rebalance to Asia". Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told lawmakers that "India has vital role to play in South Asia, in the Asia Pacific, and, increasingly at the global stage".

Her comments came ahead ahead of an important visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to attend the India-US Strategic Dialogue on July 31 in New Delhi. Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee's subcommittee on the Asia and the Pacific, she said India's rise as a regional and global leader, and its economic and strategic growth, are deeply in the US interest. Highly appreciative of India's 'Look East' Policy and its engagement with Southeast Asia and East Asia, at a time of opening in Myanmar, Biswal insisted this is the reason why the United States is making the "strategic bet" on India.

Asserting that the Obama Administration is committed to a "strong and influential India" in the security realm, Biswal said India is a regional and emerging global power, as well as provider of security and a strategic partner with shared interests from the Indian Ocean to Afghanistan and beyond. Recognising that America's future prosperity and security are intertwined with the East Asia-Pacific region, Obama administration is strengthening political, economic and security ties with Asian countries.

This strategic shift towards Asia and the Pacific is widely seen by experts as aimed at countering China's rising influence as well as its growing military power. Biswal said the India-US bilateral engagements over the next several months will reinforce their strategic, economic and people-to-people ties.

"The Strategic Dialogue will kick off a series of high- level visits throughout late summer and fall, culminating in the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Washington at the invitation of the President," she said. "We think, this is a time of tremendous potential for the US India partnership. By reinvigorating this partnership and setting ambitious new goals for the future, we are making future generations of Americans and Indians safer and more prosperous and helping strengthen stability and around the world," Biswal told the lawmakers.


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