Ambassador speaks to India’s relations with other countries

India’s ambassador to the United States commended Iran on its role in helping to stabilize Afghanistan in a speech at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday.

Ambassador Meera Shankar said that while India disapproves of Iran’s nuclear program – concurrent with U.S. views – Iran has “been reasonably helpful” toward Afghanistan and also shares “an interest in [Afghanistan’s] stability.”

Shankar noted India has played a role in Afghanistan.

“We do not see Afghanistan as a platform for regional competition,” Shankar said, adding, “India has been making contributions in rebuilding Afghanistan,” including developing schools, infrastructure, agriculture and human resources, which she said all have seen improvements due to Indian donations.

Shankar suggested that India could play a mediator role between Iran and the U.S in the future.

“India is willing to assume its global responsibility and meet the challenges of our time,” Shankar said.

Throughout the evening, Shankar highlighted the importance of a strong relationship with the U.S. as India becomes a growing economic power, but added that India “would like to see U.S. companies more actively engaged in the [Indian] transportation sector through private investors.”

As for India’s relationship with another rising power, China, Shankar said that she also hopes the two countries can work together.

“There will be some elements of competition,” she conceded. “India has a vital interest in Asia’s security and prosperity.”

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