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Hillary woos NRIs, vows stronger Indo-US ties

world Updated: Feb 05, 2008 03:04 IST

Front running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has pledged to take Indo-US relations to greater heights if she becomes the president, and vowed to work more closely with the Indian American community to make this happen.

Clinton has written an op-ed article in India Abroad, a newsweekly headquartered in New York, evidently prompted by her desire to reach out to the Indian American community on the eve of the February 5 mega-primary.

In her article titled "US-Indian Relations: A New Era", Clinton has said that one of the most difficult tasks for the new president would be "taking our foreign policy in a new direction and restoring America's leadership in the world."

"As president," she declared, "I'll reach out to our allies again and work with them to tackle global problems. America's partnership with India will be among the most important."

Clinton said there's no denying that "from globalisation and nuclear proliferation to climate change and terrorism - India matters more than ever."

She argued that it is imperative that the US and India, "two great democracies", must be strategic partners, bound together as they are by shared values and common interests.

"As president, I will work with India to make our strong friendship even stronger - to the benefit of both nations," she reiterated.

Clinton also said that as a Senator from New York, "I have been honoured to represent a thriving Indian American community, among the most successful immigrants in our nation's history."

She mentioned proudly that she had voted in favour of the US-India civilian nuclear agreement in the Senate in December 2006.

Clinton said that during her presidency, Washington and New Delhi, by working together, could not only strengthen the economic partnership between the two countries, but also "combat terrorism, foster a stable and democratic Pakistan, advance democratic values, promote human rights, tackle global warming and address a host of other problems".

She promised that she would "not only meet regularly with India's leaders, but I will call on the Indian American community to help build a bridge of cooperation between our two great countries which will serve the US and India and will help create a brighter future for the citizens of our two great nations."

Clinton recalled that as First Lady she had travelled twice to India. She added that she would always remember her 1995 visit, when in Ahmedabad she met women owning and running their own businesses through micro-credit financing.

She also reminisced fondly about the warm welcome she received when she met Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and referred to her speech to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Clinton did not forget to remind the readers of the newspaper about the transformation of the Indo-US relationship during the tenure of her husband, President Bill Clinton. "I am proud that the Clinton administration helped build a strong partnership between India and the US and I was proud that President Clinton made that historic visit to India in 2000," she said.

She also spoke of her role as co-chair of the Friends of India Caucus in the US Senate, which is said to be now in a state of slumber.

In Tuesday's coast-to-coast primaries, Clinton competes for the most number of delegates in major states like California, New York and New Jersey, with arch rival Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. These major primaries could decide who will secure the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

India Abroad is published in five editions in the US.