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US supports India’s aspiration to become leading power: Verma


Washington: America welcomes India’s constructive leadership on global challenges and supports its aspiration to become a leading power, a top US diplomat said.

“As India’s strategic plus partner, we support India’s aspiration to become a leading power,” US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said here in his maiden public appearance in the city after becoming the top American diplomat in New Delhi.

“We also welcome India’s constructive leadership on global challenges. We support greater Indian participation in multilateral institutions, including its candidacy for permanent membership on a reformed UN Security Council and its eventual membership in all four multilateral export control regimes. We support its robust engagement with ASEAN and leadership role in the Indian Ocean Rim Association,” he said.

In his address at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Verma said that India can be a valuable partner in multilateral institutions.

“We can work towards civil nuclear cooperation today because India implemented IAEA safeguards for their civil nuclear programme, including the Additional Protocol.

“India also demonstrated its leadership by upholding and supporting the July 2014 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. These are the actions of a constructive and responsible global actor that respects a rules-based system,” he noted.

Verma said the “strategic plus” partnership is bigger, more ambitious and it reflects the true convergence of interests between the two nations not only for today, but for the years and decades ahead.

“The reinvigorated relationship is built on a simple premise: if India and the US are the closest of friends and partners, not only will our two countries benefit, but the world will be a safer and more prosperous place. That’s the strategic bet we have made on each other. It’s a bet for the future and one with huge potential gains for our people and their aspirations,” he added.

Strategic plus, he argued, is about an enhanced partnership, a new way of operating and thinking, a commitment to see the larger objectives for global peace and prosperity, even as they may periodically get bogged down in day to day disputes.

“It is a way of describing and visualising a relationship on the ascent. Strategic plus does not mean we will be free from disputes or disagreements. But it does mean that when we have such conflicts or see situations differently, perhaps rooted in our historical perspectives or within our own self-interests, that we remain committed to our larger goals and strategic interests,” he said.

Strategic Plus Partnership, he said, has six elements –- regional cooperation, including the importance of coordinating closely on Afghanistan, space cooperation, defense relationship, economics and trade; climate and clean energy; and people to people ties.

At the same time, Verma said the two countries need not always agree. “We were disappointed, for example, by India’s support this week for the attempt to strip benefits from UN staff in same-sex relationships. We will continue to support the rights of LGBT individuals in India, in international institutions, and around the world,” he said.

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