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Bettering India ties a highlight, says Bush

January 16, 2009 12:03 IST

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Outgoing US President George W Bush [Images] has said that under his presidency America opened a "new historic and strategic partnership" with India, listing it among the highlights of his term's foreign policy.

"We opened a new historic and strategic partnership with India," Bush told officials of the State Department at Foggy Bottom, addressing them for the last time as the US President yesterday.

The historic Indo-US civilian nuclear deal ended decades of nuclear apartheid on India and also resulted in strengthening its strategic and business ties with India.

The Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton [Images] during her nomination hearing early this week promised to build on these political and economic ties with India.

Listing out some of the highlights of his foreign policy, Bush said in the Middle East, the US stood with dissidents and young democracies.

"Sometimes that was not easy to do. But we stood strong with those young democracies. We outlined a vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," he said.

In Asia, the Bush Administration deepened the US's alliances with its friends, Japan [Images] and South Korea, and strengthened ties with China.

"I'm not so sure if this is historically accurate, but we may be the only administration that has had really good ties with Japan, South Korea and China all at the same time," he said.

In Europe, Bush said, the US expanded NATO to include new democracies from the Baltics to the Balkans.
"We worked in a multilateral fashion to deal with issues like Iran and North Korea," he said.

He also credited his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] for his Presidential policy on Africa.

"I'm often asked, how come you, from Texas, care about Africa? And I remind people -- I'm reminded of one of my first conversations with Condi. And she said, if I'm going to work with you, I want you to make sure you focus on Africa. She gets a lot of credit for the focus on Africa," he said.

"I also acted on this timeless belief, to whom much is given, much is required. We have been given a lot in our country.

And it's not only in our strategic interests that we deal with hunger and disease, it is in our moral interest that we do so, as well.

He said in the Western Hemisphere, the US expanded trade and helped "our fellow democracies deliver prosperity and social justice to their people".

"And around the world, we built a coalition of more than 90 nations to fight terror and advance the cause of freedom in the great ideological struggle of our time," Bush said.

The US President claimed that his administration made alliances stronger, and the nation safer, and "made the world freer". 

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