India, US ready to compete with China: US diplomat

Published on Oct 07, 2021 05:05 AM IST

“We do ask that countries understand that economic coercion is not the way forward to build a strong international economy and a global prosperity and security,” US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman said.

External affair minister S Jaishankar and US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman in New Delhi.(ANI)
External affair minister S Jaishankar and US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman in New Delhi.(ANI)
ByRajeev Jayaswal, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The US and India are like-minded partners, and the two are ready to compete vigorously with China, US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman said, cautioning “economic coercion” could hamper efforts to build a strong international economy -- a message seemingly aimed at Beijing.

“We do ask that countries understand that economic coercion is not the way forward to build a strong international economy and a global prosperity and security,” she said on Wednesday while addressing a session at the US India Business Council along with India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Sherman said she had “very extensive” discussions with foreign secretary Shringla, and she also met national security adviser Ajit Doval on various matters of mutual interest.

“I had excellent meetings here, and I think we all are ready to do the work that’s necessary to ensure prosperity, peace and stability in the world,” she said while replying to a specific question related to China. Sherman and Shringla were delivering keynote armchair conversation on ‘Strategic Convergence – Aligning Our Economies and Our Indo-Pacific Ambitions’ at USIBC India Ideas Summit.

She said that the two partners have shared democratic values, which are the “bedrock of US-India relationship” as the two are the oldest and largest democracies in the world. “And we reaffirmed our strategic partnership over several past administrations,” she said. “And we built a strong network of Indo-Pacific alliances and partnerships as well and they are all based on the international rules-based order,” she said.

“We have a shared interest where major defence partners concluded four major defense-enabling agreements in recent years,” she added.

Commenting on China, she said: “Regarding the PRC [People’s Republic of China], we’ve been clear. We’re ready to compete and compete vigorously, but we want a level playing field and you heard U.S. trade representative Tie [Katherine Tai] talked about this.

Tai on October 4 said the US will take “all steps necessary” to protect it against the “waves of damage inflicted over the years through unfair competition”. The USTR remarked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), outlining the Biden-Harris Administration’s new approach to the US-China bilateral trade relationship.

“China’s lack of adherence to global trading norms has undercut the prosperity of Americans and others around the world,” Tai said adding that the US will continue to “work with allies” to shape the rules for fair trade in the 21st century, and facilitate a race to the top for market economies and democracies.

Sherman on Thursday spoke on similar line. “We’ll compete vigorously with China, where we should... I think, we and India are like minded in that regard. We don’t ask countries to choose between the United States and the PRC, but we do ask for a level playing field,” she said.

Speaking at the event, secretary Shringla said, “India considers its relations with the United States to be of paramount importance” not only for the respective nations but to ensure a “free, open, inclusive, and prosperous” Indo-Pacific.

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