US President Barack Obama’s statement on religious intolerance in India should be taken as an advice from a friend warning about the pitfalls that may lie ahead, newly appointed US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said during an interaction organised by the Asia Society Indian Centre.
“If you look at that speech there is much about the challenges that we face in the United States and still continue to face. The President spoke about his personal challenges on racial issues. It was also a conversation that two friends can have with each other. An honest discussion on the pitfalls that may lie ahead and the problems we have endured in our quest for a more perfect union. I would take that statement in that spirit,” Verma said.
US President Barack Obama had last week asked India to do more to overcome religious divisions, a statement that created a minor political storm with many saying that Obama was taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Verma said, “India’s Act East policy and our rebalanced Asia policy are in fact complementary and have the potential to create an impact in the region. We want our partnership to benefit the region and to a large extent be a role model for emerging democracies.”
He also stated that the greater synergy between the two countries should not be seen as a strategy to confront China. “On the contrary, as our new national security policy outlines, we welcome a stable peaceful China,” Verma added.
He also claimed that the US would work with India and Pakistan to promote dialogue to combat terror and advance regional economic integration.
On the Nuclear deal, Verma claimed that discussions were still on. “The US government will not undertake this work, it will be the private companies which will now have to assess the assurances that were given to ensure that they are comfortable with the legal environment,” Verma added.