Obama to seek closer ties with “natural strategic ally” India

August 26th, 2008 - 10:56 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 26 (IANS) As president, Barrack Obama will seek to build a still closer partnership with India, seen as a “natural strategic ally” of the US, according to the Democratic party platform set to be approved Tuesday.”With India, we will build on the close partnership developed over the past decade,” says the platform on the basis of which Obama, set to be formally nominated the party candidate Thursday will seek votes from the electorate in the Nov 4 presidential poll.

“As two of the world’s great, multi-ethnic democracies, the US and India are natural strategic allies, and we must work together to advance our common interests and to combat the common threats of the 21st century,” it adds.

The Democratic national convention began a four-day session in Denver Monday to approve the party platform or manifesto and anoint Obama as the party’s new flag bearer. The convention will vote on the document Tuesday.

The document acknowledges an element of continuity in US policy towards India by proclaiming that Obama, if he is elected president, will pursue with equal vigour what Democrat Bill Clinton started in the last years of his presidency and followed by his Republican successor George W. Bush.

Besides New Delhi, the Democratic Party platform suggests, the US under Obama’s presidency will also engage other newly emerging economies like Brazil, Russia and China, collectively known as BRIC nations along with India.

The US “will pursue effective collaboration on pressing global issues among all the major powers-including such newly emerging ones as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, and South Africa,” the document says.

“We believe it is in the United States’ interest that all of these emerging powers and others assume a greater stake in promoting international peace, and respect for human rights, including through their more constructive participation in key global institutions,” the draft said.

“We are committed to US engagement in Asia. This begins with maintaining strong relationships with allies like Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines and deepening our ties to vital democratic partners like India, in order to create a stable and prosperous Asia,” it said.

“We must also forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc diplomatic arrangements,” the draft platform said.

“We need an open and inclusive infrastructure with the countries in Asia that can promote stability, prosperity and human rights, and help confront trans-national threats,” it added.

The US will confront this century’s threats “head on while working with our allies and restoring our standing in the world” the draft said by pursuing “a tough, smart and principled national security strategy” that recognises that “US has interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Beijing, Berlin, Brasilia and Bamako.”

“It is a strategy that contends with the many disparate forces shaping this century, including: the fundamentalist challenge to freedom; the emergence of new powers like China, India, Russia and a united Europe,” the document said oulining the Obama administration’s goals.

Barack Obama will focus this strategy on seven goals with ending the war in Iraq Responsibly, defeating Al Qaeda and combating violent extremism and securing nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists topping the list.

The other four Democratic goals would be revitalizing and supporting US Military, renewing US partnerships to promote common security, advancing democracy and development; and protecting the planet by achieving energy security and combating climate change.

The US under Obama will also encourage China to play a responsible role as a growing power -to help lead in addressing the common problems of the twenty-first century, the draft said.

“It’s time to engage China on common interests like climate change, trade and energy, even as we continue to encourage its shift to a more open society and a market-based economy and promote greater respect for human rights.”

To fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases, the US will provide $50 billion over five years to strengthen existing US programmes and expand them to new regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, India, and parts of Europe, where the HIV/AIDS burden is growing.

The US will also reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols,” the Democratic draft said.

Noting that China has replaced America as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the document said: “Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia.”

“We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia,” the draft said.

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