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Hillary vows to build on ties with India
Lalit Jha in Washington, DC
January 14, 2009

United States Secretary of State designate Hillary Clinton [Images] on Tuesday vowed to build on the economic and political partnership with India, as she said that US and the world leaders must work  together to solve the most pressing problems.

"We will build on the economic and political partnership with India, the world's populous democracy...," she told a Senate confirmation hearing.

The former US First lady also acknowledged that emerging markets like India, China, Brazil [Images] and South Africa [Images] were feeling the effects of the current financial crisis and wanted developed and developing countries to work on strategies to provide economic stability in the world.

Pledging to renew US leadership through a smart power mix of diplomacy and defence, Hillary Clinton said certain events post-November US Presidential elections like the Mumbai terror attacks [Images] and the Gaza conflict threw up new challenges for American diplomacy.

Referring to the current global economic crisis the worst since the great depression, Clinton said for too long we have talked about the need to engage emerging economic powers.

"It is time to take action. The recent G-20 meeting, which President Bush hosted was the first step. We know that the emerging markets like China, India, Brazil and South Africa and Indonesia are feeling the effect of the current crisis," she said.

Delving on the war on terror, Clinton said, "We would use all the elements at our disposal -diplomacy and development-- to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan to root out Al Qaeda [Images] and Taliban [Images] and other violent extremists as President elect has called them as the central front the war against terrorism."

"Today our nation and the world face great pearls from ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to continuous threat posed by terrorists and extremists, spread of weapons of mass destruction, and dangers of climate change and endemic disease, from financial meltdown to worldwide poverty, " she added.

"America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America," Clinton said.

Clinton said the US must return to the time-honored bi-partisanship of our foreign policy approach that has served our nation well. "I look forward to working with all of you to renew America's leadership through diplomacy that enhances our security, which enhances our interest and reflects our values," she said.

Clinton also stressed Washington's need to use smart power diplomacy to renew American leadership, perceived to have declined with US troops bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I believe American leadership has been wanting, but is still wanted," she said, adding, "We must use what has been called 'smart power,' the full range of tools at our disposal," she added. "With 'smart power,' diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy," she added.

Clinton also spoke of how the US would strengthen the alliances that have stood the test of time, especially with its NATO partners and with our allies in Asia.

"Our alliance with Japan [Images] is a cornerstone our foreign policy in Asia, essential for maintaining pace and stability in Asia Pacific. We also have security and economic partnership with South Korea and other friends in ASEAN," she added.

On Sino-US ties, Clinton said that improving ties with China was not a "one way effort" and depended on Beijing's [Images] behaviour.

"We want a positive and cooperative relationship with China, one where we deepen and strengthen our ties on a number of issues," Clinton said.

"But this is not a one-way effort -- much of what we will do depends on the choices China makes about its future at home and abroad."

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