You are here: Home » International » News » Politics
Business Standard

Modi lauded by Trump aide; India to have 'weighty role' in Indo-Pacific

The Presidency of Donald Trump aims to work on the Indo-Pacific strategy it has formulated till now and the USA wants India to take an important role in it

Agencies  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump waves to journalists as he arrives during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: AP/PTI)
US President Donald Trump (Photo: AP/PTI)

The is now ready to implement its ambitious free and open Strategy, wherein it wants the nations of the region to be free from coercion so that they can pursue in a sovereign manner the paths they choose, a US official said on Tuesday, the Press Trust of India reported.

"for sure has the capability and potential to play a more weighty role, Wang said in response to a question adding that this role is on all fronts, whether it is security, economic or diplomatic.

"I think one great example that you've seen recently is that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi invited the leaders of to New Delhi for national (Republic) day, the top State Department official said.

The presence of leaders at the Republic Day was a truly significant sign of the increasing ties that is pursuing particularly in Southeast Asia.

"It is not just that is pursuing a greater engagement with East Asia and Southeast Asia, there are a number of crisscrossing strategies throughout the region," he said.

The use of term Indo-Pacific, as against the Asia Pacific previously, by the Trump administration, he said "acknowledges the historical reality and the current day reality that South Asia and in particular, India plays a key role" in the Pacific, in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Briefing reporters on the Trump administration's Strategy, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Alex Wong said it is in the US' interest as well as of the entire region that India plays an increasingly weighty role in the region.

While the first year was being used to introduce the strategic concept, the rest of the Trump administration's years are for formulation and implementation of the strategy, a senior State Department official said.

"Free and Open" are the two strategic modifiers that the administration has decided to describe its strategy, Alex Wong Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs told reporters.

"By free, we mean, first of all, the plane. We want the nations of the to be free from coercion, that they can pursue in a sovereign manner the paths they choose in the region," he said.

"Secondly, we mean at the national level, we want the societies of the various Indo-Pacific countries to become progressively freer in terms of good governance, in terms of fundamental rights, in terms of transparency and anti-corruption," he added.

"Moving on to open ... We first and foremost mean open sea lines of communication and open airways. These open sea lines of communication are truly the lifeblood of the region," Wong said.

With 50 per cent of trade going through the Indo-Pacific along the sea routes, particularly through the South Sea, open sea lanes and open airways in the Indo-Pacific are increasingly vital and important to the world, he noted.

"Secondly, we mean more open logistics infrastructure. There's an infrastructure gap throughout the Indo-Pacific. What is needed throughout the region to encourage greater regional integration, encourage greater economic growth? We want to assist the region in doing infrastructure in the right way, infrastructure that truly does drive integration and raises the GDPs of the constituent economies, not weigh them down," the State Department official said.

"We also mean more open trade. Free, fair, and reciprocal trade is something the United States has supported for decades and that the supports," Wong said.

Acknowledging that the India Pacific Strategy seems to be similar to that of the previous administration, he asserted that this is different because as the population and the economic weight of the Indo-Pacific grows, focus of the US and its efforts in the region have to commensurately grow with it.

The use of term Indo-Pacific, as against Asia Pacific previously, by the Trump administration, he said "acknowledges the historical reality and the current day reality that South Asia and in particular, India plays a key role" in the Pacific, in East Asia and Southeast Asia.

"That has been true for thousands of years and it's true today," Wong said.

Responding to a question, Wong stressed on the need to enforce the rules of free trade.

"You have to ensure that nations cannot abuse the rules, cannot force technology transfer, cannot prize their national champions, can't steal intellectual property. If you don't do this, if you don't enforce the rules of free trade, what ends up happening is that over time, the free, fair, and reciprocal trading regime is weakened, and that's to the detriment not just of the United States's prosperity but to the prosperity of the region and the as a whole," he said.

Wong said that the Indo-Pacific Strategy us not just about

"The Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy is not just about China, and this is for the very simple reason that the region is much larger than In the states alone, we have 600 million people. In India, we have 1.2 billion people," he said.

"If the US, together with our partners, can sew together and unify all the peoples of the Indo-Pacific, China included, under a vision that is free and open, that prizes free market economics, sovereignty, increasingly freer people and nations free from coercion, that's not just to the US' benefit, that's to the benefit of all nations in the Indo-Pacific, China included," he said.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 03 2018. 11:31 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU