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India must play significant role in Asia Pacific: US

November 23, 2011 10:33 IST

Welcoming India's "Look East policy", a top White House official has said that the Obama Administration wants New Delhi to play a significant role in the Asia Pacific region.

"The President very much welcomes India's Look East approach. We believe that just as the United States, as a Pacific Ocean power, is going to be deeply engaged in the future of East Asia, so should India as an Indian Ocean power and as an Asian nation," Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes said.

"So one of the reasons, for instance, that we believe the East Asia Summit should be the principal strategic forum in the region is because it brings India into the equation as well as United States, as well as Russia, so that in addition to having the East Asian nations, ASEAN nations, that we believe it's very important to have both India, the United States, also Russia at the table for those discussions," he said.

Rhodes was responding to questions from foreign journalists at the Washington Foreign Press centre at a special briefing on the recent Asia visit of US President Barack Obama.

At Bali in Indonesia, Obama met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the first after the last November's India visit.

"In the bilateral meeting that the President had with Prime Minister Singh, they were able to discuss a range of bilateral issues, but they also discussed, again, their commitment to the region, some of the shared principles that we have on issues like maritime security and non-proliferation and disaster relief, which were our top agenda items," Rhodes said.

"So we very much want India to play a significant role in the region, and frankly, that's part of the reason why we have been so focused on empowering the East Asia Summit as a venue for strategic-level discussions in addition to economic discussions," said the top White House official.

During his recent Asia trip, Obama had a very comprehensive engagement with India and China.

"Our relationship with emerging powers, which we see as critical to recognising the way in which the Asia Pacific region is changing.

"And to that end, we've had very, very comprehensive engagement with China and India from the beginning of the Administration, many different high-level visits and exchanges, a deepening of the context between the US Government and the Chinese and Indian government," Rhodes said.

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