India, which has now emerged as a global player will take some time to adjust to its new role, a US official has said. “India has broken out from being a regional country to be a global country. And it’s going to take them time to adjust to that new role,” Stephen Headley, Co-Chair of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent panel said at a Congressional hearing. Headley was responding to a question from Florida Senator George Lemieux who at the hearing of Senate Armed Services Committee wanted to know about the roles of BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China.
“It seems that these nations want to have all the benefits of first-tier powers, but don’t necessarily want to shoulder the responsibilities,” Lemieux said. “We don’t see Brazil taking a strong role in dealing with Venezuela, for example. We don’t see China taking a strong role in dealing with North Korea. It falls upon the United States to have the burden to shoulder in issues such as terrorism and dealing with rogue countries,” he said. Senator asked Headley: “How do you think that relationship can change? What can we do so that we are not the only nation in the world that’s responsible for fighting terrorism around the world, for shouldering this immense burden that we shoulder now? And how can we get those countries more engaged?”
Headley, in response, said the four countries were different. “Particularly with respect to China and India. We have to recognise that China is going through a period of enormously rapid change, and their government is struggling to deal with probably the fastest rate of change in the world’s most populous country – fastest rate of change we’ve ever seen. So the role that China is playing and being asked to play is new,” he said. He observed that it was both a challenge and an opportunity and said “I think it’s some sense true for India.” “We need to be both engaging them, try to work with them to understand their responsibilities and to work with us to solve global problems; at the same time, we make it clear that there are a set of international rules, and that all countries, including India and China, would be better if they played within those rules. We have to have the capabilities to enforce those rules, if necessary,” Headley said.
“It is not all black or white. It is a challenge and an opportunity. We need to be engaging those two countries. We need to be present and active in Asia, not just in terms of militarily, but economically in terms of business, in terms of diplomacy. “There are free-trade agreements being signed all the time in Asia, and we’re on the sidelines. I think that the number-one point we would make is Asia is where the action is going forward, and we need to be a player, not on the sidelines,” Headley said. William Perry, another Co-Chair of the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent panel said the last administration called on China to be a responsible stakeholder. “I think that’s a pretty good term, and I think pushing that concept, not only with China but with the other three countries, is a very good idea,” he said. “The best approach I can describe to dealing with that is to continue to call these countries to be responsible stakeholders. We need their assistance in dealing with global problems,” Perry said.