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‘Indo-US ties in transition mode, conceptual problems still exist’


New Delhi:  Noting that Indo-US ties are in a “transition mode”, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar today said there is a “conceptual problem” that has to be overcome as he emphasized the need to move away from the post-World War II political order.

Jaishankar said there are some real issues between India and the US and both the countries will have to be “innovative and bolder” about looking at possibilities.

Describing the first 50 years of bilateral ties as that of “limited convergence”, the Foreign Secretary said both the countries are in “transition mode”. “We are moving into a phase of substantial shared interest but it is happening in a step by step manner,” he said, addressing a seminar at the Vivekananda International Foundation here.

He laid emphasis on the importance of symbolism and said the Bill Clinton Administration’s stand on Kargil war and his subsequent visit, besides the Bush Administration’s position on the nuclear deal was a “welcome departure” from the past.

Contending that he cannot overstate the symbolic significance of President Barack Obama’s visit to participate in the Republic Day celebrations, Jaishankar cautioned against the dangers ahead.

“If we are overtly anchored on the past, then we are not going to see the opportunities and possibilities in this relationship… At the same time, if we overstep the progress and raise expectations then I think we would fall short in many respect and it creates its own backlash,” he said.

Both the countries need to be careful in terms of progressing the ties and positioning it, he added.

He said there are some real issues between India and US. “There is a conceptional problem that we still have to overcome and it is a fact that the post second second World War political order is still very much alive,” he said.

The top diplomat said because it is alive in the people’s mind, it is expressed in terms of deference to some powers, constraints on some and hostility to others, and “sometimes companionship to ideologies which may not be palatable to average American or that matter Indian citizens”.

Noting that both the countries will have to be careful, he said, “We need to have a different way, different concept of the world around us and where we fit into that world. And until we get that conceptual sense right, it would be a bit of a struggle”.

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