South Asia and Beyond

China Hates Partnerships Confronting It, India-U.S. Alliance Critical: Former CIA Director Leon Panetta

NEW DELHI: “China pays attention if countries make it clear they’re not just going to stand back and allow it to take advantage,” says Leon E. Panetta, former U.S. Secretary of Defence and ex-Director CIA. To illustrate, the ex-Pentagon chief talked about a meeting with Xi Jinping, whose first objection was about the U.S. expanding naval power in the Pacific. “We made it very clear that we’re not going to back off,” he told StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P Revi. “It’s not worth talking to China unless you talk from a position of strength,” the Former White House Chief of Staff pointed out, saying, “You have to make clear that there are certain lines, you’re not going to allow China to cross.”

The former top U.S. official looked back at the flashpoints around the world in 2020 and looked forward to 2021 and the big challenges, saying, “If there’s one thing China hates, it’s alliances, partnerships,” adding, “it is critical that the United States and India maintain a strong alliance. And Joe Biden will do that.”

Leon Panetta feels President-elect Biden, who swore him in as CIA Director, “very much believes the U.S. has to assert world leadership and strengthen alliances.” Being in the situation room with Biden when a SEAL team killed Osama bin Laden, Panetta said “a clear message” has to be sent to Pakistan, “that we’ll work with them only if they don’t continue to cooperate with terrorist groups and create instability.” On the Afghan peace process he’s “very concerned about what President Trump did in reducing our presence and getting nothing in return.” On Iran, Panetta said “there have to be preconditions to opening up new negotiations.”

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