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Interview: India's Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna

What does a rising power think about China, Obama, the Taliban, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more?

India's Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna smiles before a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta in New Delhi, July 27, 2009. (B Mathur/Reuters)

BANGALORE, India — A rising economic power. Nuclear-armed. Culturally ascendant. Diverse. Overpopulated. Poor and rich.

India is all of these things and more. So when it comes to foreign policy, and India's role in a dangerous and fast-changing world, who speaks for this country of 1.2 billion people?

Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, or S.M. Krishna,  India’s external affairs minister. Krishna, 77, is a career politician, and a Fulbright scholar who was educated in the United States. 

In this exclusive and wide-ranging interview with GlobalPost, Krishna delves into India's recent tensions with China, its troubled relationship with Pakistan, as well as its positions on Afghanistan, Iran, climate change, last year's nuclear deal with the United States, and what he really thinks of President Barack Obama.

GLOBALPOST: Tensions are increasing between India and China over a contentious border issues, river water sharing and the Dalai Lama’s visit to north-eastern India bordering Tibet. How do you assess the current relationship?

S.M. KRISHNA: The Chinese foreign minister Yang Jia Chi was in Bangalore Tuesday for a bilateral meeting. We are both quite satisfied with the extent of goodwill between us. We are working toward further cordiality between the two countries. The Chinese minister lingered at the dinner in his honor and such gestures indicate the level of relationship between our two countries.

How do you view the larger India-China rivalry?

That is the wishful thinking by some interested parties. India and China are going to be the powers that will shape the 21st century. China knows it. India is conscious of it. Together, we can make a distinctive contribution toward global development and shaping of global disputes.

India-U.S. ties improved during the Clinton presidency and had their heyday during the Bush administration. Where are India and the United States headed under President Obama?