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Former US Diplomat Nicholas Burns and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a video interaction.
Former US Diplomat Nicholas Burns and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a video interaction.

We are waging a battle of ideas with China, says former US Diplomat Nicholas Burns

ANI | Updated: Jun 12, 2020 15:46 IST

New Delhi [India], June 12 (ANI): During an interaction with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, former US diplomat and Harvard professor Nicholas Burns said that there is a battle of ideas going on and India and the United States can work together not to fight an "authoritarian" China but to make it observe the rule of law.
"Coronavirus crisis was made for G20. It was made for Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump to be working together for the common global good. I had thought that countries would work together for the vaccines, distribution but it hasn't happened. But Trump doesn't believe in international cooperation. He is a unilateralist. He wants the US to govern alone in the world. Xi chose to compete with Trump. I hope when the next crisis comes, will do better to work together in a more effective way," said Burns during an interaction with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
"However, this friction is not only among these three countries, but it is also between Germany, Italy and the UK. Amid the coronavirus situation the countries have become more unilateral," said Gandhi.
Speaking on China, Burns said that China has an authoritarian government but it can not be de-linked from India nor US. "We are not looking for a conflict with China but currently we are waging a battle of ideas with China," he said.
However, before making any democracy-related argument, we need to ensure that we don't have an authoritarian perspective internally, said Gandhi while adding, "It is difficult to make an argument of democracy when our institutions are being torn apart. We need to bring back the old system of embracing our culture as opposed to the present aggressive politics."
On the recent worldwide demonstrations demanding justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American, Burns said, "President Trump wraps himself in a flag. He declares that he alone can fix the problem. I can say that Trump is in many ways an authoritarian personality. But in our country, the institutions remain strong. The military has clearly declared that they will not put American military troops on the street as that is the function of the police force."
He, however, believed that democratic countries go through several trials and the recent incidents in the US were one such trial. "Countries like India and US go through such trials because we are democratic countries," the Diplomat said.

India and US citizens have tolerance in their DNA but it has now disappeared, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a video interaction with former US Diplomat Nicholas Burns on Friday.
"I think why our (India and US) partnership works is because we are tolerant systems. You mentioned you are an immigrant nation. We are a very tolerant nation. Our DNA is supposed to be tolerant," said Gandhi.
He further said, "But the surprising thing is, that open DNA has sort of disappeared. I don't see that level of tolerance that I used to see in the US and India."
Speaking on the issue, Burns said, "I think you have identified a central issue at least for the US. However, there is a silver lining here. The good news is that we have people demonstrating all across the country this week demanding tolerance, inclusion, minority rights."
"One edge that we democracies have over authoritarian countries like China is that we can correct ourselves. The self-correction is part of our DNA in India and the US and like all democracies, we resolve these issues through free and fair elections. We do not turn to violence," he added.
Over the past couple of weeks, protests were seen all around the world demanding justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American who died shortly after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Viral video of the incident sparked violent protests across the US. The county medical examiner ruled his death a homicide and the officer involved, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder.
Today's interaction follows days after Rahul Gandhi spoke to industrialist Rajiv Bajaj, globally renowned public health experts -- Professor Ashish Jha of Harvard Global Health Institute and Swedish epidemiologist Johan Giesecke. Earlier he had spoken to former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and economist Abhijit Banerjee on the impact of COVID-19 on the country's economy. (ANI)