Washington: US President Barack Obama has expressed surprise at the Chinese reaction over his India visit and said that there are undoubtedly aspects of India that make US closer to India, but China doesn’t need to be threatened because Washington has good relations with New Delhi.
“I was surprised when I heard that the Chinese government had put out these statements. China doesn’t need to be threatened because we have good relations with India,” Obama told Fareed Zakaria of CNN in an interview that was taped on January 27, the last day of his three-day India trip.
“There`s no doubt that there are aspects of India that make us closer to India. Specifically, it’s a democracy and it reflects the values and aspirations as well as some of the warts of our own country in a way that China could not. And so that I think there’s an affinity there that I feel personally and I think the American people feel as well,” Obama noted.
However, he also stressed that his November visit to China was a very successful one, saying he had “visited China just a while back and had some very successful meetings with President Xi (Jinping)”.
“China doesn`t need to be threatened because we have good relations with India,” he said.
“My belief is that in this moment in history, there’s an opportunity to create a win-win formula in which all countries are abiding by a common set of rules and standards and we’re focused on lifting up prosperity for our people, not at the expense of others, but together with each other. That’s what my discussions with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi have focused on,” Obama said.
Obama said has continuously emphasised that it is very much in America’s interest to see a peaceful rise of China.
“What’s dangerous for us is a destabilised and impoverished and disintegrating China. It’s much better for us if China is doing well,” he said.
“But what we’ve said since the start of my term in office is China’s growth shouldn’t be at the expense of other folks. It shouldn’t bully small countries like Vietnam or Philippines around maritime issues, but try to resolve those peacefully in accordance with international law. It shouldn’t manipulate its currencies to get itself trading advantages that others don’t have,” Obama said.
“Sometimes we’ve been successful in getting a response from China on those issues. Sometimes less so. I care deeply about China’s success. I want to make sure that we continue to maintain a constructive relationship,” he said.
Asked what he was most proud of, Obama said internationally, he was “proud of the fact that we`ve responsibly ended two wars” – in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“And I think that what we have also done is reflected the best values of America,” he said, citing among others “strengthening alliances with countries like India, where there`s just enormous potential, and sometimes we don`t pay a lot of attention to it”.
“But I`ve been paying a lot of attention to it, because I think that our future prosperity and security is going to be tied up with how we`re doing with 1.2 billion aspiring Indians who share our values and share democracy with us,” Obama said.