Washington: Counting on the rise of India as a global power, the United States has said it would like New Delhi to work with it around the world despite inevitable differences from time to time. “We are counting on India’s rise not just as an economic partner but as a global power, one that engages everywhere from Latin America to the Middle East to East Asia,” US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns in a lecture on ‘Is there a future for the US-India partnership’, organised jointly by industry lobby FICCI with Washington think tank Brookings Institution, said here Tuesday, adding, “For our part, accepting India as a global power means learning to agree to disagree sometimes. It means recognizing that profound mutual interests and shared values do not add up to unanimity of opinion.”
India’s leadership in promoting a more stable South Asia – its multibillion dollar assistance commitment to Afghanistan, its determination to re-engage and normalise trade with Pakistan and its joint projects to boost infrastructure and capacity in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives – offer the hope of a more peaceful future for the region and the world, Burns said.
Stressing that the world can’t afford to repeat the mistake of neglecting Afghanistan, Burns said that “success in Afghanistan depends on ensuring that others are there, too”.
“That certainly includes India. With coalition forces drawing down, Afghanistan will need extensive private investment and economic linkages with its neighbours,” he said.
Burns said that even without direct access to India’s rising middle class market, Afghanistan already sends one-quarter of its exports to the country. “Imagine what will be possible when transit and trade agreements extend outward to India and Central Asia, and Afghan traders are able to shift goods directly to the markets of Mysore and Mumbai,” he said.
“And, with cooperation moving forward on so many issues, a few differences need not cause us to lose momentum or ask whether there is a future for our partnership,” Burns said warning “The greatest risk is not disagreement — it is inattention.”
Few questions will matter more for both countries than whether they are doing as much as they can to realise its full promise “in the new century unfolding before us,” he said.