India finds no mention in Clinton’s new ’smart power’ diplomacy (Lead)

May 20th, 2009 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 20 (IANS) With US “concentrating on working hard” to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, India apparently takes a low priority in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s exercise of “smart power” in diplomacy.

Clinton made no reference to ties with New Delhi as she Tuesday outlined the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiatives at what was billed as a global press conference, while Pakistan figured 17 times in her remarks.

US is reinforcing its relationship with key allies in various parts of the world while engaging vigorously with a number of emerging regional actors, she said, as it exercises smart power in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.

Clinton in particular mentioned Russia and China. But unlike the previous Bush administration that always touted building a strategic partnership with India as a key foreign policy success, India escaped her attention.

“The State Department is committed to a new diplomacy powered by partnerships, pragmatism, and principle” in today’s interconnected world, she said.

“We are reinforcing our relationship with key allies and historic partners in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and we have engaged vigorously with a number of emerging regional actors.

“And we’re serious about establishing more candid, constructive relationships with both Russia and China.”

Clinton made clear where Obama administration’s priorities lay as she opened the press conference with references galore to Pakistan starting with an announcement of more than $100 million in humanitarian support to Pakistan - an announcement she had made at the White House too minutes earlier.

“The US has been concentrating on and been working hard to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Clinton said “and our engagement in that region will continue”.

US was also seeking constructive solutions in the Middle East, where it has made a major commitment to assist the Palestinian people, and in Iraq, “where we are working toward a responsible deployment of American combat forces”, she said.

It is also taking a “new approach to Iran that relies on all the tools of American power, led by diplomacy”.

In addition to bilateral and multilateral relationships, Clinton said President Barack Obama and she were focussed on food security so that developing nations can improve food production, affordability, accessibility, education and technology.

The US, she said was now “using new tools and seeking new partners to broaden the reach of our diplomacy because we understand that 21st century statecraft cannot just be government-to-government; it must be government-to-people and people-to-people”.

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