On her recent visit to India, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about India's growing leadership role in the world.
An important area of U.S.-India cooperation is the Asia Pacific. The more the countries of the region trade and invest with each other, the more central the Asia Pacific region becomes to global commerce and prosperity, and the more interest India and the U.S. have in maintaining stability and security. As the stakes grow higher, the U.S. and India should use their shared commitment to ensure maritime security and freedom of navigation.
ASEAN will soon inaugurate a trilateral U.S.-India-Japan dialogue. As a fellow democracy, the U.S. believes enhanced cooperation with India will be beneficial. The U.S. is also committed to a strong, constructive relationship among India, the United States, and China.
As India takes on a larger role throughout the Asia Pacific, it does have increasing responsibilities to speak out against violations of universal human rights. India has important strategic interests in maintaining a peaceful border and strong economic ties with Burma. But the Burmese Government’s treatment of its own people continues to be deplorable. The U.S. hopes India will continue to encourage the Burmese Government to engage in dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and also to release other political prisoners.
India's leadership in South Central Asia is also very important. India has a commitment to improving relations with Bangladesh, and that is critical because regional solutions will be necessary on energy shortages, water-sharing, and the fight against terrorists. Looking north, in Central Asian states like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, India has forged new partnerships on energy, agriculture, and cyber security, because India and the U.S. share an interest in helping the people of this entire region build strong democratic societies, market economies, and to resolve long-festering conflicts. With regard to Afghanistan, all countries in the region need to be committed to a vision of a stable, independent, Afghanistan rid of the insurgency and a region free from al-Qaida.
With all these pressing issues at hand, it is not a time that either the United States or India can afford to look inward. This is a time to seize the opportunities of the 21st century, and it's a time to lead.