Monday, March 20, 2023

India’s values make us closer; shouldn’t threaten China: Obama


By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 2 (IANS)
President Barack Obama has said that there are undoubtedly “aspects of India” that make US closer to India but China doesn’t need to be “threatened” because Washington has good relations with New Delhi.

“There’s no doubt that there are aspects of India that make us closer to India,” he had told noted Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria in an interview in New Delhi at the conclusion of his three-day historic visit.

“Specifically it’s a democracy, and reflects the values and aspirations as well as some of the warts of our own country, in a way that China could not,” he said in the interview telecast Sunday on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. “And so I think there’s an affinity there that I feel personally and I think the American people feel as well.”

Asked what he was most proud of, Obama said internationally, he was “proud of the fact that we’ve responsibly ended two wars” – in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“And I think that what we have also done is reflected the best values of America,” he said, citing among others “strengthening alliances with countries like India, where there’s just enormous potential, and sometimes we don’t pay a lot of attention to it”.

“But I’ve been paying a lot of attention to it, because I think that our future prosperity and security is going to be tied up with how we’re doing with 1.2 billion aspiring Indians who share our values and share democracy with us,” Obama said.

Turning to China, Obama said he was surprised at Beijing’s criticism of both the US and India since he had “visited China just a while back and had some very successful meetings with President Xi (Jinping)”.

“China doesn’t need to be threatened because we have good relations with India,” he said.

“You know, my belief is that in this moment in history, there is an opportunity to create a win-win formula in which all countries are abiding by a common set of rules and standards.”

The US, he said, was “focused on lifting up prosperity for our people, not at the expense of others, but together with each other, and that’s what my discussions with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi have focused on”.

Obama said he had “continually emphasized that it is very much in America’s interest to see China continue with its peaceful rise”.

“What’s dangerous for us is a destabilized and impoverished and disintegrating China. It’s much better for us if China is doing well,” he said.

But “China’s growth shouldn’t be at the expense of other folks”.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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