US for strong Pak-India commercial ties, says Rice

Washington - The US strongly supports efforts by Pakistan and India to expand bilateral trade and commercial ties as it will help in broadening support base for normalisation of their relationship, a top American official said on Saturday.
“When it comes to promoting regional stability, the US strongly supports efforts by Pakistan and India to expand their trade and commercial ties,” US National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in her address to the Aspen Institute India- US Dialogue.
“With sustained leadership from both governments, this will not only reap real economic rewards, it will help broaden the base of support for normalisation on both sides of the border,” Rice said.
India, she said, is also essential to America’s broader engagement with Asia, where many of their national interests converge. “We look forward to enhancing the ways that India’s Look East policy and America’s re-balance to Asia can be mutually reinforcing,” Rice said in her first major policy speech on India.
Rice said the two countries need to strengthen their security cooperation to keep the two nations safe and to address global challenges more effectively.
“Here we’ve made good progress. Later this year, for the first time, India will join the US and countries throughout Asia to participate in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii.
“Indian forces are using US-sourced aircraft to support typhoon relief in the Philippines and UN peacekeeping operations in the Congo. And, we’ve taken steps to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles that have held back cooperation on the development of military hardware. Our challenge is to find ways to further elevate and expand our military-to-military relationship,” the National Security Advisor said.
“For each proposal we make, for each common challenge we face, we must ask ourselves. How can the United States and India partner to lead the international community? That’s a question we’re asking in Washington, and we are committed to working closely with our Indian counterparts to determine the answers,” Rice said in her address.
Noting that within 15 years, India will be the world’s most populous nation and its third largest economy, she said that carries serious weight.
“It also comes with greater expectations for responsible, reliable international leadership and burden-sharing. To that end, India and the US have enhanced consultations on global and regional issues, including on common objective of putting Afghanistan on a stable and self-sustaining path,” Rice said.

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