India, US natural partners, will advance Indo-Pacific’s security: Foreign secretary Shringla
India and the US have the shared objective of advancing the security and economic interests of all countries with a legitimate stake in the Indo-Pacific region, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said on Thursday.
Shringla’s remarks, made during a virtual interaction with the US India Strategic Partnership Forum, set the stage for New Delhi’s engagement with the incoming Joe Biden administration. External affairs minister S Jaishankar has already said India will face no problems in taking forward ties with the US under the Biden administration because of strong bipartisan support for the relationship.
The foreign secretary highlighted the shared values that make India and the US natural partners for forging a stable, peaceful and prosperous 21st century, including mutual trust, a shared commitment to democracy and converging strategic interests.
“India and the US have collectively affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, with firm support for Asean centrality. Our objective remains advancing the security and economic interests of all countries having a legitimate stake in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Shringla, who served as envoy to the US before taking over as foreign secretary at the beginning of this year.
“It is my firm conviction that India-US ties are only going to get stronger. I am sure all of you present here today share my optimism,” he added.
Shringla pointed to steps being taken by members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad – which brings together India, Australia, Japan and the US – to combat Covid-19 and build resilient supply chains and said New Delhi sees Washington as a natural partner for building a resilient economy.
“We are meeting today at an interesting time when the US is transitioning towards a new administration. One of the remarkable features of our bilateral ties is the strong bipartisan support in the US to strengthen its strategic partnership with India and work together on addressing global challenges,” he said.
“We look forward to working with the new US administration for further strengthening and consolidating this multifaceted relationship for our mutual benefit and economic prosperity.”
Shringla listed post-Covid-19 recovery and climate change as two key areas for future cooperation with the US. As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from next year, India will work with the US to seek collective solutions for the post-Covid world and reformed multilateralism, he said.
The India-US 2+2 dialogue of foreign and defence ministers last month had focused on a coordinated Covid-19 response and economic recovery, and both sides had decided to promote access to an affordable Covid-19 vaccine, he said. Both sides also agreed to boost supply chain resilience and to expand bilateral trade, he said.