Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday had a conversation with Nicholas Burns as part of his series of interactions with experts. In his conversation with Gandhi, Burns spoke on a range of issues like Indo-US relations, China conflict, and others. Burns said that India and the United States could work together not to fight an "authoritarian" China but to make it observe the rule of law. On clash with China, Burns said, "We are not looking for conflict with China, but are waging a battle of ideas with China".
During the conversation, Gandhi said that Indo-US partnership has worked because 'being tolerant' was in the DNA of both the countries. However, the level of tolerance was gradually disappearing now, Gandhi added.
The Congress leader also said that "Unilateral, episodic type of leadership in India is destructive, unfortunate". "When you divide African Americans, Mexicans, and other people in the United States, or you divide Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs among India, you're weakening the structure of the country. But then the same people who weaken the structure of the country say they are the nationalists," Gandhi said during the conversation with Burns.
Gandhi's remarks came in the wake of countrywide protests in the US over the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.
On which 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 demanding tolerance, inclusion, minority rights".
Burns added, "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, and US, India, like other democracies, we resolve issues like this through free and fair elections. We do not turn to violence".
The US and Indian governments should combine forces to promote human freedom, democracy, and the rule of people in the world, Burns added.
WHO IS NICHOLAS BURNS
Burns is a former US diplomat and is currently working as a professor of Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard's John F Kennedy School of Government.
At the Harvard Kennedy School, Burns is the Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East, India and South Asia.
During his career in the State Department, he was the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs within the United States Department of State. He was also the chief negotiator of the India-US nuclear deal.
Burns is the sixth guest that Rahul Gandhi has interviewed recently. The 49-year-old Congress leader has interviewed several other experts to get a better insight on the economic, political, and sociological issues of India amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. For instance, Gandhi has interviewed leading global economists Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee; internationally renowned epidemiologist Johann Giesceke; global public health expert Ashish Jha and Indian industrialist Rajiv Bajaj.