Washington, (Agencies): With the new century set to be dominated by India and China, the US believes it is imperative for it to strike the right balance in its relations with the two Asian giants.

"How to manage this triangular relationship in a cooperative and not a competitive way is going to be very important," said Robert D Hormats, Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.

He made the comments while participating in a discussion on 'Unlocking the full potential of US-India relationship' at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think-tank.

He said the US wants the two countries to play a growing role in helping to make the global economy work better, by making progress on global trade negotiations and devising ways in which the rules of the system can be adhered to by big emerging economies.

"That, I think at least on the economic side, is a very high priority for us," he said.

Hormats also stressed on the importance of working with both India and China, the increasingly important players in the global economy, on global security issues and on a wide range of other issues that are important to the United States.

"Therefore, we do not want to make it a situation where there's a zero-sum game where we try to play one country off against another, first of all, because it's not in our interest to do it, and second, because they don't want to be played off against one another themselves," Hormats said.

The key element for both countries, he said, is economic development and creating large numbers of jobs.

The demographics of China and India are different, but China has sort of an aging population, India has a much younger population.

"Both of them are focused very dramatically on creating jobs. They are developing countries. Large numbers of people in both countries are living close to, in some cases under, the poverty line.

"So the last thing they really want is friction between themselves or instability in the global economy. So they need to work together," he asserted.

Hormats said the trade is really booming rather dramatically between these two countries.

"So they both want good relations, certainly good political relations and stable security relations with the United States. They also like the notion that over a period of time, the United States plays a proactive role in their economies as investors and as trading partners," he said. Hormats said the US would like the two countries to play a greater role in the new global economic system.

"The key from an American point of view and ultimately from the point of view of these countries, is to enable these new countries and encourage these emerging economies to play a greater role in the global economic system, not just as growing commercial powers and financial powers and technological powers, but to play a greater role in adhering to the rules of the global system," he said.