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Relationship with India not to contain China: Burns
December 19, 2006 10:59 IST
The United States has dismissed reports of propping up India as a counterweight to China by agreeing to scrap the 30-year-old ban on nuclear exports to New Delhi.
"We don't have a policy that would build up a relationship with India to contain China," Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said on Monday. "And we feel that China is an important friend of the United States. But it's also true that our strategic interests in South and East Asia dictate good relations with the major powers," he added.
Talking to mediapersons at the White House, shortly before President George W Bush signed a legislation giving effect to the India-US nuclear deal, Burns said, "We have, I think, one of the more interesting foreign policy developments of the last few years and that is the degree to which the US-China relationship has improved."
Calling China an important friend of the United States, he acknowledged, "We have some issues that separate us, but in general the direction is good there."
"Now for the first time since 1947, we have an excellent relationship with India. We are improving relations with China and improving Japanese-Chinese relations," he added.
"These are all good signs for stability in Asia, South and East Asia, and it is very important that we're cooperating with the great power of that region on a number of issues," the senior State Department official said.
He explained at length as to why the US Congress had inserted in the bill a requirement that the President should certify that there is no transfer of Indian nuclear technology to Iran.
"There has been no history of India transferring nuclear technology to Iran, but because Tehran is one of our greatest concerns these days, we're looking for ways to shut down any possible provision of capital or technology to the Iranians for their enrichment programme. I think, based on my own conversations with members, I just wanted to make absolutely sure that this was going to be part of the agreement that New Delhi would acknowledge and they have," he added.