India, Indonesia ‘emerging powers,’ says Donilon.
NEW YORK: Reiterating President Barack Obama’s statement that he considers US relations with India to be “one of the defining partnerships of the twenty-first century,” National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon said that America “fervently” supports India’s rise, speaking at a meet, “The United States and the Asia-Pacific in 2013,” at the Asia Society here.
Donilon pointed out that from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2009 to the President’s trip to India in 2010, “the United States has made clear at every turn that we don’t just accept India’s rise, we fervently support it.”
Donilon said that U.S. and Indian interests powerfully converge in the Asia-Pacific, where India has much to give and much to gain.
“Southeast Asia begins in Northeast India, and we welcome India’s efforts to “look East,” from supporting reforms in Burma to trilateral cooperation with Japan to promoting maritime security,” he said.
In the past year, India-ASEAN trade increased by 37 per cent to $80 billion, Donilon pointed out, expanding on White House initiatives on building new ties in the region.
Donilon also specified India and Indonesia as the two countries to build new relationship, terming them as ‘emerging powers’ in the region. He said the overarching objective of the US in the region is to sustain a stable security environment and a regional order rooted in economic openness, peaceful resolution of disputes, and respect for universal rights and freedoms.
“To pursue this vision, the US is implementing a comprehensive, multidimensional strategy: strengthening alliances; deepening partnerships with emerging powers; building a stable, productive, and constructive relationship with China; empowering regional institutions; and helping to build a regional economic architecture that can sustain shared prosperity,” he said.
Speaking on China, Donilon said the President places great importance on this relationship because there are few diplomatic, economic or security challenges in the world that can be addressed without China at the table and without a broad, productive, and constructive relationship between the two countries.
“The U.S.-China relationship has and will continue to have elements of both cooperation and competition. Our consistent policy has been to improve the quality and quantity of our cooperation; promote healthy economic competition; and manage disagreements to ensure that U.S. interests are protected and that universal rights and values are respected,” he said, in reference to human rights issues.
“As President Obama has made clear, the United States speaks up for universal values because history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people are ultimately more successful, more prosperous and more stable,” he added.
“The United States welcomes the rise of a peaceful, prosperous China. We do not want our relationship to become defined by rivalry and confrontation,” said Donilon adding that he disagrees with the premise put forward by some historians and theorists that a rising power and an established power are somehow destined for conflict. “There is nothing preordained about such an outcome. It is not a law of physics, but a series of choices by leaders that lead to great power confrontation. Others have called for containment. We reject that, too. A better outcome is possible. But it falls to both sides—the United States and China—to build a new model of relations between an existing power and an emerging one.”
Donilon said that the Obama Administration has worked to make its rebalance to the Asia-Pacific a reality because the region’s success in the century ahead –and the United States’ security and prosperity in the 21st century—still depend on the presence and engagement of the United States in Asia.
“We are a resident Pacific power, resilient and indispensable. And in President Obama’s second term, this vital, dynamic region will continue to be a strategic priority,” he said.