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'Relationship with India, Pak not zero sum game'

While the US has unveiled major plans to strengthen defence ties with India including an offer to sell F-35 fighters, it has said its ties with New Delhi and Islamabad should not be viewed as a zero sum game.

world Updated: Nov 03, 2011 12:22 IST

While the US has unveiled major plans to strengthen defence ties with India including an offer to sell F-35 fighters, it has said its ties with New Delhi and Islamabad should not be viewed as a zero sum game.

"It’s important that none of us think about relationships in this region (South Asia) as a zero-sum game," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia Robert Scher told reporters.

"We have valuable relationships with Pakistan and valuable relationship with India. These things coexist and can coexist, and it is not meant to be and shouldn't be seen as a zero-sum game," Scher said.

The Pentagon report on India to the US Congress is valuable in terms of putting many things all in one place, but there is nothing new here. There is nothing that is not available or something that should be surprising to people who watch this, he said.

"What is valuable about this report, I believe, is consolidating into one place and making it clear what we're doing and the context in which we're doing it," Scher said.

What is critical about this relationship, Scher said, is that "we are forming a strong relationship with a key regional power in Asia and frankly a regional player globally."

"I think if you see all the interactions that we have with India writ large, India is clearly a country that we share a great set of common interests and where we can take effective action together when we so choose," he said.

"I think we really need to look at it in that context, India as a regional and global leader and ensuring that we work together to address our common concerns," the Pentagon official said.

"In terms of China's military buildup, as we have stated many times in the past, we understand that China as well as all countries within the region are looking to modernise their militaries," Scher said.

"What we are concerned more about is the transparency of these buildups. And it's something that we talk to the Chinese about and is obviously in our report," he said.