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'India can guide US to multilateral cooperation'

It is incumbent upon India now to guide the US to the path of multilateral cooperation, senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh said.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2007 22:55 IST

Being the natural ally of the US, which has lost its "moral authority" amongst the comity of nations because of its own doings, it is incumbent upon India now to guide the former to the path of multilateral cooperation, senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh said on Friday.

"The USA has no understanding of power. The essence of power lies in understanding its limits, which India does. The primacy of the USA in military and other spheres is greatly dented specially because of its policies towards countries like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea etc.

"India should take into consideration this fact while cementing its ties with the USA as there is no harm in protecting the interests of one's own country," Singh said in his lecture `India & US: Natural ally or not?', organised by the Lokmat Group of Newspapers here this evening.

"The primacy of the US, the only superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union in two weeks time in 1991, lies shattered for various gaffes. Being a natural ally of the USA, now it is for India to guide it to the path of multilateral cooperation," the veteran BJP leader said.

Stressing that India and US are natural allies despite many differences, Singh said the ties between the two countries got established in 1492 when Christopher Columbus while discovering the sea route to India accidently landed on the shore of America.

"What a remarkable India it would have been, because without being there, still many inhabitants in countries like Peru, Mexico, Canada, USA came to be known as Indians," he said.

"The protests caught on and stirred the Civil War leading to the independence of America from the British Empire. Because India too was a colony of the British Empire, the US leadership was always supportive of our independence," he said.

However, after the end of the Second World War in 1944 and independence of India in 1947, India and USA experienced the first divide in the ties between them due to the emergence of global freeze, the former finance minister said.

"With India pursuing a non-aligned policy and Pakistan falling in the orbit of western powers, the divide kept on widening and there was a great resentment in India when the US sent a carrier in Bay of Bengal in our 1971 War with Pakistan," Singh said.

Inspite of tense relationship between the governments of USA and India, one cannot ignore the fact that many Indians had great affection for America, the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said.

Developments like Pokharan II in 1998 increased America's "discomfiture" with India further, he said.

However, that there was a change in the perception of USA towards India first came to be noticed during the visit of President Bill Clinton when he in one of his speeches referred the two countries as "natural allies" and the applause it drew was still etched in his (Singh's) memory, the BJP leader said.

First Published: Feb 17, 2007 22:55 IST