India will pursue its own interests in navigating through the geo-strategic rivalry between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific, India's envoy here has said.
The US has conducted a series of "freedom of navigation" exercises in the disputed South China Sea, triggering protests from Beijing over what it says is infringement of sovereignty. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan are also claimants.
In an interview to the Chinese state-run China Global Television Network on Thursday, Indian Ambassador Gautam Bambawale spoke candidly on a host of issues including unresolved India-China boundary question and how India would leverage its strategic position in the geo-strategic rivalry between US and China, specially the Indo-Pacific region.
To a question about whether India would take any sides in the Indo-pacific power politics, Bambawale said India will pursue its interests.
"The only side India is on, is India's own side. In other words our foreign policy and all our policies are geared towards meeting India's interests and India's national interests," he said.
In the post-Cold War period India has worked very closely with all countries across the globe.
"We have improved our relations with big countries and small countries because we believe that we can obtain and gain from each of these countries," of what is required for India's national development, especially investments and technology.
"We try to obtain it from any country which is willing to help us," he said.
"So, we have managed to keep excellent relations not only with China and Russia and Japan but also completely changed our relationship with the United States. We will do whatever in India's best interests", he said.
Answering a question about India procuring weapons from both the US and Russia, he said defence industry is an important component of India's efforts to increase manufacturing sector under the 'Make in India' campaign.
"We are very happy to move with anyone, whether the US, Russia or any other country, he said, adding that India is "not leaving China completely out".