"Much like the United States, the Indian relationship with China has elements of cooperation and elements of competition. But Prime Minister Modi himself has said that he wants a strong and healthy relationship with China," Richard Rahul Verma said at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
    
"It's very much in our interest to see these two countries have a healthy relationship," he said. The Indian-American noted that "although there will be disagreements from time to time between the countries but again, to the extent these are resolved peacefully...I would say the Prime Minister has set out on a very positive footing in reaching out to China".
    
Commenting on the border issues between India and China, Verma said, "There is a dialogue on border issues when they occur. And again, the economic issues are important to both countries. So anything that we can do to ensure that the dialogue remains open, that trade and connectivity remain strong."
    
"Premier Xi's visit to meet Modi after he became the Prime Minister coincided with the flare-up along the India-China border and there was a lot of confusion about why the incident took place when such an important meeting was underway," he said.
    
The Indian American told lawmakers at the Senate that it has been "fascinating to watch" over the last year when India's Look East policy has become Act East policy.
    
"It's been about actual development. Prime Minister has already made at least two trips to East Asia with successful visits to Australia and Japan. They have trade and defence relationships with Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. There's joint training that now takes place. Singapore-India trade relationship is huge," he said.
    
India is seeing a lot of its future both economically and from a security perspective in East Asia. I think that converges with our re balance to Asia as well, where we can work together on issues such as counter terrorism and maritime security, the nominee said.
    
"We can resolve disputes peacefully while preserving the post-World War II liberal democratic, rules-based order that's been so important to the global system," Verma said.

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