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policy | US, India have complementary interests: Henry Kissinger

policy | US, India have complementary interests: Henry Kissinger

The US and India have complementary interests, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has said even as he expressed admiration for New Delhi’s strategic policy.

“When I think about India, I admire their strategy,” Kissinger said during a rare appearance in Washington to attend the first annual leadership summit of the US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum(USISPF) last week.

“The US and India have complementary interests. The beauty of that is that we don’t need to make an alignment because it is already there,” Kissinger said during his participation in a chat with USISPF chairman John Chambers.

The session with Kissinger was closed for the media. A part of his remarks were released by USISPF yesterday.

With Kissinger’s appearance, the first annual leadership summit of the year-old USISPF was billed as a success.

“We are truly a startup, and like many startups we outlined an audacious goal on tremendously transforming two countries…This is why we literally launched a startup called the USISPF–an organisation that said we as business leaders, can represent all the citizens,” Chambers said.

“Trade is important and we need to grow it and need to be as close as 50-50 and we will–I think India and the US will work together through those issues. But it also about enhancing and making this inclusive for all citizens in both countries. How to build job creation, education, knowledge transfer–this is what USISPF is doing–it is a model for the future, not the past,” Chambers said.

India and the United States have come a long way but the two countries still have a long way to go, said Senator Rob Portman.

“The common bonds we share certainly will continue to give us the opportunity to do more…The world’s oldest and the world’s largest democracy should be even more tightly bound together and I think this organisation has a role to play in deepening that relationship,” he said praising the role of USISPF.

“We were always democracies, we always had commonalities, but we were a little off-kilter, we were often talking past each other or at each other, but not talking to each other,” said Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna.

“I think a number of things – a number of realisations, a changing world, a much-changed India, a much more receptive United States – I think that all has brought us to a point where we are truly strategic partners, both in defence and security terms, trade, economy and investment terms, and of course the bedrock, the commonality of the two democracies,” he said.

The greatest asset the relationship has is the “wonderful involvement” of the Indian diaspora, said US senator Mark Warner.

“This relationship would not have progressed as rapidly as it has if not for the enormous success and involvement of the Indian-American community,” he said.

“One of the biggest proponents of the importance of this relationship is Secretary Jim Mattis. And he said, I need this (in his letter to Senator John McCain). This is important for our country. This is important for India. This is important for the strategic relationship,” said senator Dan Sullivan.

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