US to step up partnership with India, says top White House official


The United States has decided to step up its partnership with India, said Kurt Campbell, the White House Indo-Pacific adviser, adding the relationship with India “most important” for the US in the wake of the changing world order and security challenges posed by the Russia-Ukraine war.

Speaking at a panel discussion at Washington’s Center for a New American Security, Campbell said, “I think there are always challenges in our bilateral relationship, the key is to remain purposeful to understand that the most important relationship in my view for the United States in the 21st century is likely to be with India.”

“We need to make clear institutionally that we are going to step up our partnerships across the Indian government, stronger intelligence links, stronger trade and economic links,” the US top policymaker added.

Referring to the difference in opinion among the QUAD members Australia, India, Japan and US on Russian invasion of Ukraine, Campbell said, “It is unrealistic to expect that on every issue you will have complete alignment among four dynamic nations.”

Defending India’s neutral stance of the Ukraine crisis Campbell informed that the US is privately engaging with New Delhi in an effort to communicate quite clearly, that over time, the US wants to build a “stronger relationship with India.”

“I think it is clear, however, in conversation and engagements with Indian friends, they understand the gravity of the situation playing out in Ukraine… And so I think what we have tried to do in a responsible way is to privately engage Indian colleagues in an effort to communicate quite clearly, that over time, we want to build a stronger relationship with India,” Campbell said.

Campbell assured that IS along with its long-standing allies UK, France and Israel is ready to help India with alternatives on the security issue.

“We need to help provide India with alternatives on the security side that means not only the United States providing capabilities but partners like UK, France and Israel. We are working with other countries to support India so it has a broader set of choices when it comes to security and defense,” Campbell said.

The US official said India and US have moved ahead in forging a strong partnership, which is “difficult but necessary”, not just between the President and Prime Minister of the respective countries but institutions.

Referring to the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between the defense and diplomacy leaderships, he said, the meetings have been “outstanding” and that the two democracies “were able to talk about a range of issues” determined to increase cooperation and engagement.

“I think the long, the longer-term trajectory will bring the US and India much closer together,” the White House official said.

India’s independent posturing over the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put the country in the global spotlight. Many had hoped that India would align itself with Ukraine and against Russia, given New Delhi’s growing involvement with Washington in the QUAD.

The Indian American Democrat Congressman Dr Ami Bera, who represents California district that includes the city of Sacramento, and chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia, which has substantial clout on legislation and spending in that area, also addressed the forum.

“US relationship with India is strategic, deep and this is for the long haul,” Bera told the panel. “I see there is an opportunity in the Indo-US relationship as India has shown the appetite to move towards the west and the United States.”

Over the last few months, the US has often publicly acknowledged that it understands India’s historic ties with Russia and how it would be difficult for India to quickly cut its ties with the former superpower.

“Yeah, there are always hiccups in the road in our relationship with India, but at the end of the day, the trajectory is always moving in the right direction,” Bera said.