US engaging with emerging regional actors; India finds no mention

May 20th, 2009 - 10:47 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 20 (IANS) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says US is reinforcing its relationship with key allies while engaging vigorously with a number of emerging regional actors as it exercises “smart power” in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.

“The State Department is committed to a new diplomacy powered by partnerships, pragmatism, and principle” in today’s interconnected world, she said addressing what was billed as a global press conference on the Obama administration’s foreign policy initiatives.

“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, she said.

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

But unlike the previous Bush administration that always touted building a strategic partnership with India as a key foreign policy initiative, Clinton made no reference to ties with New Delhi.

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 it is 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”.

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.

“So we want to engage civil society, women, youth, political activists, and others as we pursue our agenda,” she said.

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

“Issues related to food, including high food prices, pose a threat to the prosperity and security of many countries. And so we are going to rebalance our programmes in favour of agricultural development aid, rather than excessive reliance on emergency assistance.”

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