Indo-US relationship needs new ideas and ambitions: Burns | world | Hindustan Times
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Indo-US relationship needs new ideas and ambitions: Burns

Indo-US relationship has been "losing some energy" and needs jolts of new ideas and ambitions, a former US diplomat has said and asked the Obama Administration to take some steps to strengthen it as India will be America's "democratic partner" for the future.

world Updated: Oct 21, 2010 12:02 IST

Indo-US relationship has been "losing some energy" and needs jolts of new ideas and ambitions, a former US diplomat has said and asked the Obama Administration to take some steps to strengthen it as India will be America's "democratic partner" for the future.

Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said India is likely to be one of the top strategic partners of the US, which looks to the Indian leadership to deal with problems in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Burns, the key interlocutor of the previous Bush Administration with India on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, said the "relationship has been losing some energy and needs jolts of new ideas and new ambitions."

"India may not be a formal treaty ally, but is going to be a democratic partner for us for the future. The United States needs to take some steps to strengthen this partnership," he said, ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to India next month.

Burns was speaking on the occasion of release of a report "Natural Allies – A Blueprint for the Future of US-India Relations" co-authored by him, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Richard Fontaine, Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Burns said: "The US looks to Indian leadership as a partner in dealing with problems in Nepal and the instability there, the problems in Bangladesh with radical Islam and certainly in trying to deal with the problem if civil war in Sri Lanka over the last decade."
He said: "India is likely to be, if not the primary strategic partner of the United States globally going forward in the next 40 or 50 years, certainly one of the two or three most important."

"We are guarded by the very strong believe that despite the enormous progress in the US India relationship in the decade past, we should be much more ambitious about this relationship – Americans and Indians," Recommending "a bold leap forward' in the Indo-US relationship, the report also urges Obama to endorse New Delhi's bid for Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council, remove ISRO from entities list and stop asking India join NPT as a non-nuclear state.

"United States and India are in the midst of a remarkable transformation of a relationship that for decades never reached its full potential," he said, adding that the private sector led the way in beginning this strategic relationship.

Burns said under President Obama, US and India have become foreign policy partners beyond this bilateral relationship. "India may not be a formal treaty ally, but is going to be a democratic partner for us for the future. The United States needs to take some steps to strengthen this partnership," he said.

Observing that the global balance of power is changing, Burns said some of the important institutions that are important for global stability like the UN Security Council look more like the world of the Second World War than the world of 2010.

"The United Stated ought to support in my judgment personally, India's permanent membership in the Security Council. We need stronger military ties than we have. We need actions by the United States to liberalise export control regime," he said.

Burns said this is the key moment for the United States. "The global balance of power is shifting. The future is going to look very different as who has power in the world than it did in the last 30 or 40 years, we need democratic partners, friends and allies to keep the peace, particularly in the most vital parts of the world for the United States, which is the Middle East, the South Asia and East Asia," he said.

"It make sense that the United States commits itself to a long term strategic partnership, a short of an alliance with India and Japan and other countries in the future so that China's rise occurs in a peaceful, stable Asia where the democratic powers remain very strong," Burns said.