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UK for better links with India, China

A British minister says UK should broaden its global links rather than rely solely on the US, reports V Dutt.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt, London
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2007 11:59 PM IST

The United Kingdom must build closer relations with China and India, British Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown said in an interview published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on Saturday.

The new minister for Asia, Africa and the United Nations, regarded as an internationalist and against the Iraq war, in his first interview, said he wanted Britain to broaden its international partnerships rather than rely solely on the special relationship with America.

"My hope is that foreign policy will become much more impartial…there is this global hub where there is the opportunity to connect Britain to a new way of doing things, when you think again about the partnerships to get things done -- how you bring in an India or a China, how you can bring in civil society, Oxfam and Save The Children," he stated.

"Events determine relationships. For better of worse, it is very unlikely that the Brown/Bush relationship is going to go through the baptism of fire and therefore be joined together at the hip like the Blair/Bush relationship was," Malloch Brown said.

As deputy UN Secretary-General, he opposed the war in Iraq. The new minister felt, "That (Tony Blair-George W Bush equation) was a relationship born of being war leaders together. There was an emotional intensity of being war leaders with much of the world against them. That is enough to put you on your knees and get you praying together."

Britain's approach to foreign policy is, he thinks, about to change radically. But he thinks Prime Minister Gordon Brown will get on with the White House because American foreign policy has also changed.

"We are getting a dramatic reassertion of multi-lateralism and a more pragmatic diplomacy led by Condi Rice [US Secretary of State], very much with the support of the White House," he argued.

Malloch Brown opposed the use of the phrase "war on terror". "At the UN we have always been a bit cautious of these broad-brush labels because they have a self fulfilling quality. We prefer more forensic rhetoric," the foreign office minister added.

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