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India must look towards US, not Russia & China:US Under Secretary Mark Menezes

As the US steps up the heat on Russia through sanctions and now missile strikes into Syria, the message from Washington to New Delhi is equally clear that countries like India should start looking at the US differently.

Ahead of the key strategic energy partnership dialogue, US Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes told The Economic Times that it’s important for countries like India to not let Russia and China gain over the US in these areas.

“I think India should start looking in the direction of the United States. Look at us, look at what we are offering and then choose us over other countries. I am not saying it will happen overnight, but start looking in our direction,” he told ET.

When asked on concerns that US may be less cost effective to Russia and China, he said: “If countries begin to choose for economic reasons only to go to countries like China and Russia, which frankly do not share the values of democracy, free markets, religious tolerance… (then) I would suggest we need to think very carefully.”

The US, Menezes emphasized, offers a more reliable option now that it’s a net exporter of oil and natural gas. “This allows countries which share our values to choose between a country that can threaten to cut off supply or extort because you are dependent on them.”

The US is keen that India signals its strategic inclination towards the US in the energy sector, adding that the Trump Administration will ensure Westinghouse builds new nuclear reactors in India.

“Be careful of those countries which come in and say price should be the determinative factor when you enter into a co-partnership with them. We want that when countries like India, with whom we have shared values, look for nuclear partners…they want to be with countries like the US.”

Menezes told ET that he was convinced on Westinghouse bouncing back from its economic troubles to build reactors in India. “We think Westinghouse will be very strong coming out of the bankruptcy. We are very supportive of their technology and capability to build the six reactors here. Bankruptcy will no longer be an issue.”

He went on to add that US attached significant importance to India’s membership quest at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. “We are pledged that we will look critically at any effort to impose unreasonable restrictions to their (India’s) membership.”

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