India Can Play A Weightier Role In The Indo-Pacific Region: US

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India Can Play A Weightier Role In The Indo-Pacific Region: US

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The U.S. on Monday says that India has the “capability and potential” to play a weightier character in the Indo-Pacific region.

Briefing reporters on the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr Alex Wong says it is U.S.’ interest as well of the entire region that India plays an increasingly weighty role in the area.

“India as a nation has invested in free and open order.  It is the nation that can anchor free and open order in the Indo-Pacific region. And it is the policy of ensuring India do play a role that it is becoming over time more influential player in the region,” Mr Wong says.

The use of a term Indo-Pacific, as against the Asia Pacific previously, through the Trump administration, he says “Acknowledges historical reality and current day reality South Asia in particular, India plays a key role” in the Pacific, in East Asia and also in Southeast Asia.

“That has true for the thousands of years, and it is true today,” he says.

“India for sure has the capability and potential to play a weightier role,” Mr Wong says in response to question adding that this character is on all fronts, whether it is security, economic or diplomatic.

“I think one great example that you have seen recently is that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited the leaders of ASEAN to New Delhi for the national Republic day,” the top State Department official says.

The presence of ASEAN leaders at the Republic Day is a vital sign of the increasing ties that India is pursuing mainly in Southeast Asia.

“It is not just India that is pursuing a greater engagement with East Asia and Southeast Asia; there are some crisscrossing strategies throughout the region,” he says.

The first year of Trump Administration, he says, is for introducing the strategic concept to the region; which is free and open Indo-Pacific Strategy. The rest of the years of the Trump administration is the implementation of that strategy, he says.

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