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India a growing global power: US

Sunday 29 May 2005, by RAJGHATTA*Chidanand

WASHINGTON: The United States sees India’s rise as a global power as a largely positive factor and is therefore willing and ready to assist in that process and its implications, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said.

In an interview with Bloomberg News correspondents that was released by the state department on Friday, Rice has elaborated on the new US policy first articulated by Washington in March this year soon after she visited India.

"When I went out there, we talked about a stronger economic relationship, stronger energy cooperation, stronger defense cooperation and becoming a reliable partner for India as it makes its move as a global power," Rice has disclosed.

"And we used the words that we’re fully willing and ready to assist in that growth of India’s global power and the implications of that, which we see as largely positive," she added.

Rice response came after one reporter, in a rather incredulous tone, asked for clarification on how the US saw both India and China as global powers.

Question : Can I just interrupt for a second? I want to go back to one question. You said India is a growing global power and that is largely positive.

Secretary Rice : Yes.

Question : China is also a growing global power. Is that also largely positive?

Secretary Rice : It could be.

Mr. Hunt : Is it?

Secretary Rice : The advantage in India is its democracy. And it is a quite remarkable democracy. Think of over a billion people and that kind of multi-ethnicity of that place, the multi-religiosity of that place, and that it repeatedly manages to have democratic elections, had a peaceful change of parliament. It’s a remarkable story. And because our view is that democracies tend to be stabilizing in their activities and behaviors, obviously it’s a good thing that India is a democracy.

China, she continued, is in transition in terms of its domestic systems. The US had issues with China over democratization, human rights issues, religious freedom issues, the transparency and openness in politics, its currency and intellectual property rights. "An economy that big has simply got to be within the rules of the international economy or it will be disruptive to the international economy," Rice said.

The Secretary also rejected the charge that the Bush administration was soft on the issue of outsourcing, suggesting the onus lay with the US to improve its domestic policies to make sure the jobs stayed here.

"In order for the US to be competitive and to make certain that jobs are here, you have to have an environment in which this is the very best place to do business. And that’s what I think the President and his economic advisors spend a lot of time doing," she said.

Rice praised India as "a rising economic influence of power in the international system," pointing out that "Indians are emerging form a philosophy of heavy statist involvement in the economy."

"It’s a great multiethnic democracy. I think it’s a natural friend for the United States...It is emerging as a potentially very stabilizing and positive force in international politics, which is why we’re spending a lot of time on that relationship," she said.

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