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India-US ties took 6 decades to grow, making up for lost time: S Jaishankar


PTI, Jul 12, 2020, 11:56 AM IST

New Delhi: The relationship between India and the US took about six decades to discover itself, but having done so, it is making up for lost time, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday, July 11 while elaborating on the significance of fast-expanding ties between the two leading democracies.

In an interactive video session at the India Global Week, he said President Donald Trump and his three predecessors Barack Obama, George W Bush, and Bill Clinton were on the same page on the importance of India and the need for strengthening the bilateral relationship.

“Think back at the last four US presidents -Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W Bush, and Bill Clinton. I am sure you will agree with me that you cannot find four people in the world less similar to each other, and yet the one thing on which actually all four of them have agreed on is the importance of India and the need to strengthen the relationship,” Mr. Jaishankar told the moderator of the session.

He was replying to a question on bipartisan support in the US over its ties with India.

“It is a relationship I would say which took about six decades to discover itself, but having done so, it is making up for a lost time,” he said.

The external affairs minister touched upon various facets of the strategic relationship including in the areas of security and defense, technology, trade, and people-to-people relationship.

“I see this certainly as one of our key relationships. But I expect it is a relationship which will become more important even in the American calculus of the world,” he said.

Mr. Jaishankar called the Indo-US relationship very diverse and that it is bound by certain values and understanding of each other’s societies.

“I would say somewhere values do matter. Indians and Americans today have a better understanding of each other’s society, and therefore a much closer appreciation. They sort of feel for each other in a way in which many countries perhaps do not do,” he said.

“It is not just for the administration of the day though, obviously, that is critical. I think we have a very strong, very diverse relationship across the American polity, especially in the American Congress,” he said, adding the relationship grew stronger in the last two decades.

Talking about India”s ties with Australia, he said there are strong structural and policy reasons why the two countries are expanding cooperation. He said Australia is a country with considerable “weight” and “influence” and that it has a lot of interests in the region.

“There is a sense today in India and in Australia that look, it is very important if the larger region is to be more secure, more stable and more predictable to work on the lines with which we will be comfortable, then countries like India and Australia need to come together,” he said.

On Singapore, he said that it is a country which reflects the pulse of the world, adding it had an extraordinarily important and interesting role in the changes that had taken place in India, particularly in early 1990s when India came out of a closed economy.

“For us, it is a very unique relationship, and it is a relationship which is very central to our larger relationship with the world. It is not just a country to country relationship,” he said.

He also talked about weakening multilateralism as well as greater multipolarity in the world today.

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