Hillary Clinton will make Indo-US ties stronger: aide

May 8th, 2008 - 10:26 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 8 (IANS) A day after Hillary Clinton suffered a near knockout blow in the US presidential race, one of her close aides said if elected she would make bilateral relations with India much stronger. “If you liked what you saw with President (Bill) Clinton, you are going to see it again with Hillary Clinton” said Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign, in an interview published Wednesday.

“And, overall, she is going to take foreign policy in a new direction working to build bilateral relations,” he said in the interview with India Abroad newspaper conducted a few days before Tuesday’s Democratic primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.

Despite the commanding lead taken by rival Barack Obama with his big win in North Carolina and her slim victory in Indiana, Clinton Wednesday vowed to fight on after loaning her campaign $6.4 million.

Obama has gained a near unassailable lead in their battle for the Democratic nomination to face Republican John McCain in the November presidential election with just six contests remaining.

“She’s always had a fine relationship with India,” McAuliffe said. “She has worked very closely with the Indian-American community here in the United States of America to the point as you know, the Obama campaign criticised her, called her the Senator from Punjab.”

Asked why should Indian Americans vote for the former first lady, he said:

“She has a track record working towards great US-India relations. She did as First Lady. She visited India, as you know, several times.

“Then, her husband went over in March 2000. While she has been in the Senate, she’s worked on economic issues to strengthen ties between the two countries. She was in favour of the US-India civilian nuclear agreement.

“She looks forward to working to build the relationship and make them even stronger,” McAuliffe said.

Young Indian Americans who had gravitated towards Obama lately,he said “got to sit down and think. ‘How do we make the strongest relationship, economic relationships between the two countries?’

“It’s Hillary Clinton who’s out there with the specifics and for the young Indian-American community as well as all young people, this is about their future. And the next president is going to have a big determinant on how they lead their lives.”

Asked why was Hillary Clinton having second thoughts about the India-US civil nuclear deal when it was voted upon last year, McAuliffe said: “I don’t think she had second thoughts. She took her time to make a decision.

“Hillary is very thoughtful. She looked at the issue and did not make comments on it publicly before that. (But) When she made up her mind, she decided to vote in favour of the nuclear deal and was a supporter of it.

“But, she came about it at her own time table and that’s what she will be as president. But, you know, at the end of the day, she voted for it and that’s what matters.”

On Hillary’s views about outsourcing, he said: “The Indians get concerned about this because India has sort of always been the whipping boy when the decibel level on this controversy, especially at election time, gets louder.

“First of all, what Hillary has said, and her primary language has been directed towards China,” McAuliffe suggested. “Obviously, she talks about China all the time. I’ve never heard her in fairness, talk about (outsourcing) in the context of India.”

“What she has said, is she will negotiate, she wants trade deals, she thinks they are important to build bilateral economic relationships. She will negotiate fair, but tough trade deals. She is a full believer that we’ve got to build jobs here, in this country.”

Asked how would Hillary as president make ties with India even stronger when faced with issues like Iran, McAuliffe said: “We are going to have disagreements with nations all the time and this happens….But what you will have with Hillary Clinton is you will have an open relationship, you will have a honest relationship.”

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