A top American Senator, who plays a major role in shaping the country’s foreign policy, has sought to boost the India-US cooperation, particularly in the clean energy and climate change sector.
During the confirmation hearing of Samantha Power, who is President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Senator Robert Menendez said he has prioritised clean energy and climate cooperation with India to boost the US-India cooperation.
“I’d like to hear the role you envision USAID playing in boosting the US-India cooperation and clean energy,” said Menendez, who is the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Menendez also said that last year the Appropriation Omnibus authorised the USAID administrator to establish the United States-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation that would attract public and private capital to fund grants to address development priorities in India.
“I’d like to hear your views on that foundation,” he told Power.
During her confirmation hearing, Power mentioned the challenge posed by China to the US and in the Indo-Pacific region.
“On the one hand, this has been a year of tremendous Chinese expansionism and aggressiveness when it comes to developing countries and when it comes to its near and abroad as well. We’ve seen that in Hong Kong, we’ve seen it in the South China Sea, we’ve seen it at the Indian border,” she said.
“But it hasn’t gone that well for China. You actually see… very poor polling, when it comes to China’s standing in the world. Even with the donations of protective gear in light of the COVID pandemic, you don’t see increases in soft power. Quite the contrary in light of COVID and the status of the global economy and how much different countries have suffered from that,” she said.
“It is in part because people recognise this coercive and predatory approach, which is so transactional and seemingly not really rooted in encouraging countries to achieve their own destinies, their own development objectives. I think it’s not going over that well,” she added.
Power said this creates an opening for the United States.
“I think our comparative advantages are our support for accountable governance, which aligns with what citizens want worldwide. Our ability to not only bring in the DFC but in parallel private sector investments, which countries hunger for. The fact that we are carrying out programming that is supportive of various countries, environmental objectives, so many of these countries cherish the natural resources that they’ve been given,” she said.
“So I think our approach, which is helping them sustain those resources, rather than pillaging them, is something that also gives us a comparative advantage. I think it’s country-specific in terms of what the programming (should be), how the programming should be tailored. But fundamentally, it’s about supporting those countries achieve their objectives and their goals of becoming self-reliant and not being dependent on assistance,” Power said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)