Speaking at the Times Network India Economic Conclave, Clinton said the US and the West were trying to establish “some norms” that democracies can follow against autocratic states. She said India would want the world to be similarly outraged and be with it if China were to send “one of its huge armies to India”.
“India is held in very high regard. Its position matters. Efforts to stop Russia’s aggression, and also Chinese aggression, are in everybody’s interest,” said Clinton, when asked about frequent comments from US authorities against India’s decision to purchase oil from Russia at a discount.
Clinton said US efforts to wean Europe away from Russian energy had seen some progress, although probably not as much as it would have liked to see. She also recalled how India had cut down oil imports from Iran when she, as then secretary of state, made the case with the Indian leadership that Iran acquiring nuclear weapons would lead to a “terrible situation”.
“India’s oil imports from Russia are minuscule. It’s important to underscore the right that India has, like any other sovereign nation, to independently take decisions that are in its interests. But, number two, I would certainly argue for India to be a part of this global response. When I worked to get the UNSC to impose sanctions on Iran, I travelled to India and made the case that Iran acquiring nuclear weapons could lead to a nuclear arms race in a region India was much more closer to than we are. India was very helpful. I think that’s all we are expecting from India,” she said.
“I understand the difficult choices that you have to make. My argument is that now you are a part of the Quad. I have said in the past that you should look East and also look West. India is such an important nation and so strategically located. Trying to stop Russia is in everyone’s interest and that’s the argument I’d make,” said added.
Clinton said the US was trying to establish some norms that the democratic world can be as strong as possible against the autocrats. “The autocrats are never satisfied. They always want more,” she said.
Clinton said she was proud of the fact that her husband Bill Clinton, as President, was responsible for opening the doors for stronger ties with India. She said she had no doubt that the US under the Biden administration will continue to seek a deeper “alliance” with India. It’s in the interests of both to have stronger bonds, in areas ranging from education to military,” she said.
In his welcome address, Times Group MD Vineet Jain said India’s noisy and argumentative political process may have slowed down the country, but this is what has made the country’s ascent deliberate, durable and deep.
Jain said that while India has friends on the world stage, the country is not beholden to any one country. “At three trillion dollars, we are the sixth-largest economy in the world — and in terms of purchasing power parity, the third-largest. We are an ancient civilisation, but not one that is paralysed in the past. We are home to the world’s third-largest startup unicorn ecosystem, behind only the US and China, which is a testament to India’s youthful culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
V Vaidyanathan, MD & CEO, IDFC First Bank said that India has benefited from the democratic dividend in addition to the demographic dividend. While this form of governance has its strength and pitfalls, India had the advantage of democracy which meant that there were no draconian measures like the killing of sparrows across China to save grains or the one-child policy.