With India and America engaging in the East Asia dialogue,Indian ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao said on Monday that they were not looking at isolating any country,and that China is the largest and the most important neighbour.
Somebody called South China Sea as the ante-chamber of Indian Ocean… there is scope for broad-based engagement… what we are looking at is freedom of navigation,looking at trade,at humanitarian assistance to disaster relief, said Rao at an event organised by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.
With US ambassador to India Nancy Powell by her side,Rao said,We are not looking at isolating any country…China is our largest neighbour… in many ways,our most important neighbour. She said they are building broad-based engagement and not going to fritter away.
Powell said this was in continuation of East Asia dialogue,and there was constant back and forth between the two capitals,and referred to India as a model of democracy for the countries in the region. She said that both sides have expressed concern over the potential for conflict,and Washington sees New Delhi playing a role in formulating a framework.
On the FDI announcement,Powell said they have warmly welcomed the decision and the American companies will be looking at the fine print very closely.
On the tricky issue of engagement with Iran,Rao said the task of navigating is complex,but not impossible. The Indian envoy said this was evident from Iran sanctions early this year,when both sides were talking to each other. We had a lot of interaction with the members of the US Congress… it was difficult but not insurmountable… there was receptivity (to Indias views), she said.
Rao said they could speak with candour in the Indo-US relationship,as there is very little rhetoric.
Both envoys said the two sides have a lot of areas of cooperation,including the forthcoming energy dialogue in the US.
Powell said they would like to move faster on a range of issues,and it is encouraging that there are great expectations although 100 per cent has not been achieved. But,its alright… we set the goal pretty high, the US envoy said.
On the issue of whether the India-US relations was oversold,Rao said that river is flowing quietly. They listed out cooperation on education,science and technology,security issues.