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US to maintain strategic partnership with India

September 04, 2012 14:36 IST

US flagThe United States would 'continue to invest' in long-term strategic partnership with India and also support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region, the Democratic Party Platform says.

"We will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region," says the 40-page Platform, similar to a party's election manifesto, to be adopted at the Democratic National Convention this week.

"As we have sought to re-balance our foreign policy, we have also turned greater attention to strengthening our alliances and expanding our partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.

"In part, this is in recognition that the United States has been, and always will be, a Pacific power," it adds.

"And, in part, it is a recognition that America's future security and prosperity will be fundamentally interconnected with Asia given its status as the fastest growing economic region, with most of the world's nuclear powers and about half of the world's population," it says. The document says President Barack Obama has, therefore, made a deliberate and strategic decision that the US will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region.

"President Obama has made modernizing America's defense posture across the Asia-Pacific a top priority.

"We remain committed to defending and deepening our partnerships with our allies in the region: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

"We will maintain a strong presence in Japan and on the Korean Peninsula to deter and defend against provocations by states like North Korea, while enhancing our presence in Southeast Asia and in Australia," the platform says.

"We will also expand our networks of security cooperation with other emerging partners throughout the region to combat terrorism, counter proliferation, provide disaster relief, fight piracy, and ensure maritime security, including cooperation in the South China Sea," it adds.

Obama, the platform says, is committed to continuing efforts to build a cooperative relationship with China, while being clear and candid when we have differences.

The world has a profound interest in the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China, but Beijing must also understand that it must abide by clear international standards and rules of the road, the platform says.

"China can be a partner in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, countering proliferation in Iran, confronting climate change, increasing trade, and resolving other global challenges. President Obama will continue to seek additional opportunities for cooperation with China, including greater communication between our militaries," it says.

"We will do this even as we continue to be clear about the importance

of the Chinese government upholding international economic rules regarding currency, export financing, intellectual property, indigenous innovation, and workers' rights," the platform says.

The US will consistently speak out for the importance of respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people, including the right of the Tibetan people to preserve their cultural and religious identity, it says.

On Afghanistan, the platform says the US will not build permanent bases there and underlined that Pakistan can be partner in its effort to support peace and stability.

The document noted the al-Qaeda leadership is on the path to defeat but continues to remain active in the Af-Pak region as well as Somalia and Yemen.

"The United States and our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have begun to transition responsibility to Afghan security forces.

"At the same time, we are keeping up the pressure on the Taliban, pursuing the possibility of a political resolution to parts of the conflict, and continuing our capacity building efforts," it said.

Beyond 2014, the US will continue to provide counter-terrorism and training assistance and to build an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, as outlined by the US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement concluded in May.

"The United States will make clear that we respect Pakistan's sovereignty and democratic institutions, and that our interest is in putting an end to al-Qaeda's safe havens and respecting Afghan sovereignty," the Platform says.

Mitt Romney, the document alleged, has been both for and against their timeline to end the war in Afghanistan, but has failed to outline any policy ideas for how he would bring troops home and, at times, has suggested he would leave them there indefinitely, it alleged.

The Platform also takes a dig on the previous Bush Administration on his Af-Pak policy.

"As the Bush administration shifted its focus to Iraq, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda established safe havens across the border from Afghanistan, in Pakistan. President Obama's decision to end the Iraq war freed up military and intelligence resources to refocus on this fight and enabled us to shift to a much more effective approach to counterterrorism," it said.

Importantly, Obama also shifted away from the Bush administration's sweeping and internationally-divisive rhetoric of a 'global war on terrorism' to a more focused effort against an identifiable network of people: al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

"The al-Qaeda core in Afghanistan and Pakistan has never been weaker.

"We have also struck blows against al-Qaeda's leadership in Yemen and Somalia -- with the full support and close cooperation of those governments.

"At the same time, the President and the Democratic Party understand that we must stay vigilant.

"The al-Qaeda core may be on the path to defeat, but the organization and its affiliates remain active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere," it adds.

Lalit K Jha in Charlotte (North Carolina)
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