US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster on Wednesday said that no country wants to see a conflict in the Indo-Pacific region and the United States will work with trusted and like-minded partners to develop guidelines and other ways to fulfil the “inclusive” vision for the region.
“No one wants to have conflict in the region (Indo-Pacific). We want it to be an inclusive vision but we are going to need to work with trusted and like-minded partners to develop guidelines, red lines and other ways to fulfil the vision we share for Indo-Pacific region,” Juster said at the India Ideas Summit.
He said that the US has begun some of the work through its discussions with the remaining Quad members — India, Japan and Australia.
“We are writing the first chapter of what will be a project over next several years and the book that we complete will be critical to future of not just this region but to the world,” Juster underlined.
The Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims in the South China Sea.
Juster said that India has provided pharmaceuticals for over 100 countries around the world.
“We have had tremendous cooperation with India and post the visit of the President (to India). We have seen several conversations between Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“We have really transformed a strategic partnership into a comprehensive global strategic partnership and as the Prime Minister, said recently, what may be the most important relationship of the 21st century,” he added.
The envoy outlined that India and the US were working together on regional and global issues.
“Implementing a mutual vision for the Indo-Pacific region will move the relationship forward. The challenge for us now is to build an architecture that rises to and fulfills the shared vision,” Juster said.
The ambassador said that companies are leaving China and are looking for alternative places to invest. He said that India could become the new business hub for manufacturing and for global exports.
“Companies are not expanding further in China and looking for alternative places to invest or even leaving China and looking for alternatives, so India can really become a new business hub for manufacturing and for global exports, be part of the global supply chain as companies may seek to disengage from the China-led supply chain to do all this. I think there are a few key steps that, again, business leaders can play a very significant role in,” Juster said.
Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who participated in the session along with Juster, said that Trump’s visit to India in February elevated US-India ties to a comprehensive global strategic partnership.
“The world has changed a lot since then. There has been expanded collaboration between our countries in health and vaccine development. Our engagement has expanded significantly and our cooperation has moved across new frontiers,” he said.
Sandhu underlined that India undertook a series of reforms to improve ease of doing business and attract investment. “There is a bold vision for digital India. The initiative envisions India as a digitally empowered society,” he said, adding that mobile penetration has boosted in urban and rural India.
“India’s got to unleash economic growth and you unleash that by having a light regulatory hand with clear predictable regulations and a stable regulatory regime. Secondly, you really need to continue to build infrastructure. It is not just the physical infrastructure of airports seaports and roads which are very important and something that India needs to continue to enhance, but your digital infrastructure,” he said.