US Election 2020: Outcome unlikely to impact ties between two countries, says foreign secretary Harsh Shringla
The outcome of the American presidential election is unlikely to impact India’s relationship with the US as it is based on bipartisan support, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla has said.
Presidential candidate Joe Biden has made it “very clear that he values a strong India-US strategic partnership”, and this is common to both Biden and US President Donald Trump, Shringla said in an interview with DW News channel.
“Our relations with the US are really based on bipartisan support, you see it in Congress, you see it at the public levels. We do believe that we have forged a relationship that today has withstood the test of time, is very comprehensive and multi-faceted,” he said.
“We not only share the same values and principles but we also have the same strategic vision in what could be bilateral, regional or multilateral relations,” he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ties with Trump “have been special”, he said, noting that Modi’s “relationship with [former president Barack] Obama was also very special”.
Asked about the border standoff with China in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Shringla replied, “Clearly there we believe that the situation has involved some level of deterioration...it has contributed to deterioration in terms of the ties between our two countries because of the unusual step of China to seek to unilaterally alter the status quo.”
Shringla responded to questions on whether China had occupied territory on the Indian side of the LAC by saying, “You have to keep in mind that there is no common perception of the border, but yet if you seek to change where the current line where troops are, then of course it does impact on the larger relationship.
“We are concerned that China has taken this step. We are very, very clear that we will stand firm and resolute in our resolve not to allow our territorial integrity or sovereignty to be compromised.”
Responding to a question on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad grouping that comprises India, Australia, Japan and the US, Shringla said, “The Quad is a grouping of countries which have the same vision of a free, open and transparent Indo-Pacific region, an international rules-based order, international freedom of navigation in global commons and also issues such as open connectivity [and] respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.”
The members of the Quad are “working to bolster the capacities and abilities of countries in the Indo-Pacific, with Asean as its centrality, in a manner that is both constructive and cooperative”.
Shringla was scathing in his response to a question about Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan describing the government of India as “fascist”, and said, “That is ripe coming from the prime minister of a country that does not recognise the state of Israel, that till now does not acknowledge that the Holocaust took place, that has provided a safe sanctuary for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar of the Taliban years after 9/11, a country that today has a debt higher than its GDP, a country that has enormous socio-economic problems and political problems now with an entire coalition of all the opposition parties seeking to unseat Prime Minister Imran Khan and those who back him from the deep state.”
He said the remarks were “an attempt to distract international attention and domestic attention” from Khan’s problems. “Considering his situation and Pakistan’s own approach towards radicalism, terrorism and issues that are important to the international community, he really shouldn’t be making such irresponsible statements,” he added.