Former US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs and Chief Negotiator of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal Nicholas Burns said America and China shouldn’t remain adversaries, but work together during the current global crisis. In a virtual dialogue with Rahul Gandhi, former leader of India’s main opposition Congress Party on Friday, Burns said Washington should move beyond its obsession with Beijing.
“We are not looking for conflict with China. But we are really looking for a battle of ideas with China,” Burns told Gandhi.
The former diplomat and current professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government said he thought countries should set aside their differences and work together.
“It hasn’t happened mainly because President Trump does not believe in international relations. He is a unilateral person. He wants America to go alone in the world and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping wants to compete with Trump. Even the US and China are the heart of the problem,” he said when Rahul Gandhi asked him why the US and China are not working together to address the current global crisis.
In a counter question from Burns on India-China relations, Rahul Gandhi said, he would prefer “cooperative conflicts without ever going into violence”.
“Yes they have a different world view. Yes they have an authoritarian world view. Yes, we have a democratic world view. I am pretty confident that the democratic world view would prevail,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi held the conversation on how the Coronavirus crisis was reshaping the world order, besides a wide range of issues, including racism in the United States.
Burns said the killing of African-American George Floyd was “horrible”.
“It was horrible, horrible murder of George Floyd, a young African-American man, by the police in Minneapolis. There are millions of Americans protesting peacefully as is our right. And yet, the President treats them like terrorists,” he quipped.
Rahul Gandhi has held dialogues with several experts including global economist Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee, internationally known epidemiologist Professor Johan Geisecke , Global Public Health Expert Ashish Jha and Indian industrialist Rajiv Bajaj.