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India's relations with the US will depend on the latter's position on Pakistan, about which New Delhi is still in the dark, said a former Indian diplomat in his assessment of the situation after the meeting late last month between the two countries' top leadership.
"After coming to power Trump (US President Donald Trump) has not said anything on Pakistan. In his address to the joint session of Congress in February this year, he said nothing on Pakistan. He did not say anything on it during his campaign either," Arun K Singh, India's Ambassador to the US in 2015-16, said here on Friday evening during a panel discussion.
During the talk held under the rubric of 'India-US Relation after Modi-Trump Summit', the former ambassador said the US policy on Afghanistan will also be a factor in its position towards Pakistan, and in turn towards India.
"Its policy towards Afghanistan will also determine its stance towards Pakistan. This will have an impact on us. And so far the situation remains," Singh said at the talk organised by the Indo-American Friendship Association.
He, however, stressed that India cannot do without the US since, "despite the changes, it still remains a dominant power".
Not just in "defence supplies, but in economy, politics, middle class aspirations, education opportunities, no other country in the world can provide us the space that the US can, not Europe, or Russia, or Japan", he said.
An alignment with the foreign policy of the US will be key to India's interest, cautioned the former envoy, since the free-market giant definitely will not craft its policies around India's interests.
"We have to keep in mind that the US will not make its foreign policy to meet India's interests... We need to see where is the convergence (between India's and US' policies) and nimbly adjust and play with that convergence to maximise our interests," he advised.
"We have no choice but to engage with the US," he asserted.
US foreign policy expert and Jawaharlal Nehru University Rector, Chintamani Mahapatra, said that India and the US are fighting "an invisible enemy" in terrorism, and although not entirely overt, there is a deep cooperation between the two countries on this issue.
"It is a secretive war, but I strongly feel that both the countries are deeply cooperative with each other (in fighting terror)," Mahapatra said.
He also remarked that India has a lot of expectations from the US on the terror front and that the support in this regard can at best be reciprocative.
"India expects a lot from the US. But can India help the US in fighting Hamas or IS ?... It has been our long time desire that the US declare Pakistan a terror state, but did we ourselves do so? " he said.
Other panellists included Suhasini Haider, Diplomatic Editor of The Hindu newspaper, and Jeffrey R. Sexton, the Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at US Embassy in India.
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