Anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation
The United States said that anti-piracy efforts could spur three-way cooperation with India and China, insisting that it seeks stronger relations with both rising Asian powers. In a speech on US regional strategy, a senior official hailed democratic India as a positive force in Asia but insisted that Washington also sought to work with China, whose ties with the United States are often uneasy.
Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, noted that naval power by Britain in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th century had helped ensure global commerce. “Perhaps it will be the cooperation of the American, Indian and Chinese navies that ensure global commercial routes are protected and enhanced in the 21st century,” Blake said. “It is for this very reason that eliminating the scourge of piracy could be a natural way for the United States, India and China to begin to cooperate at sea,” Blake said at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
India and China — along with developed nations such as Japan — have been stepping up their response to piracy emanating from lawless Somalia which in recent years severely hampered global shipping in the strategic waters. China has deployed warships off Somalia’s coast, the first time in modern history that its navy has carried out a mission well outside Chinese waters. India next year plans to chair a meeting of the UN-backed Working Group on Somali piracy.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a speech in Chennai in July, encouraged India to play a more assertive role in Asia, saying that it “has the potential to positively shape the future” of the region. Blake echoed her remarks, calling India a “pillar of stability” that can “help ensure that the Asia of the 21st century is one defined by open markets, open societies and open governance.”