Indian economy can play very useful role in ‘Making America Great Again’: Navtej Sarna

Washington: Given the inherent strength of its economy and upward trajectory, India can play a very useful role in realizing President Donald Trump’s promise of “Making America Great Again”, top Indian diplomat based in the US has said.
At one level, the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ and ‘Make in India’ of the Modi government might “sound contradictory”, but when one sees the potential of the two economies, there is scope for actually helping each other do exactly what the two countries want, Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna told the Asia Group in a podcast interview on April 30.
“I don’t speak for the US, but as far as India is concerned, we have an economy which we believe can actually not only help ourselves, but we are in a position where we can play a very useful role in making America great again,” Sarna said.
The Indian envoy was responding to a question from Verma on the visible potential conflict between Make in India and America First.
“We are confident that given our growth potential, we’re growing at seven, 7.5 per cent, given our reforms taking off in India, given our buying capacity over the next few years, whether you take a buying energy, which we’re now buying from the US oil and natural gas, whether you are buying civil airplanes or our defense acquisitions. even if you just take these three baskets, we can be a very important partner for what the United States Administration is trying to do is to create jobs to increase its exports,” Sarna said.
“Also, India has the weight of our professionals who are sufficient enough to send lots of them here and that they are playing a very crucial role in making American companies be globally competitive. So I think there are ways of working together around this,” Sarna said.
Observing that the India US ties are on an upward trajectory and that there are no fundamental differences between the largest and oldest democracies of the world, Sarna said that he feels that “time, energy and resources,” are the only thing that constraints this relationship.
“Today when we look at the relationship overall, it is entirely positive relationship. It is a relationship of which there are no questions about, there are no fundamental differences about. The only thing that constrains us is perhaps our own time, energy and the resources,” he said.
“And if had double of those, we could probably have had doubled the relationship. Given all that, whether you look at strategic cooperation, defense cooperation, security cooperation; economic given take investments from both sides, cooperation in international fora and course the people to people linkages that you see, we are in a very good place,” he added.
Responding to question on China, Sarna said India itself sees itself as part of heart of Asia.
“I do not think we ever had any doubt about our Asian personality and our role in Asia have ever since from the beginning of our days as a modern, independent India in 1947,” he said.
China is a very important, very large, very powerful neighbor. The effort has been to build a constructive relationship with China in which people often see India and China’s competing in everything. I think some of that is inevitable given our size, given our positions as large developing countries with huge populations.
Of course, there is increasing trade between the two countries. There’s increasing tourism between the two countries. We had a border conflict in 1962, which has left its echoes down the decades. But we do have a way of working out the border problem in itself without necessarily having it spill over to the rest of the relationship,” he said.
There are structures in place which allow the two countries to work through border issues.
“When you look at the international implications of some of the activity that has been happening, there are some specific concerns for instance we, we have been concerned about some aspects of the one belt, one road, particularly where it’s erosion of sovereignty and infringement of sovereignty as believe. The important thing is that this is an important relationship with needs to be handled carefully and we have been doing just that,” Sarna said.

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