New York: Hillary Clinton will be missed by India as she makes room for Senator John Kerry to replace her as secretary of state for President Barack Obama’s second term.
Clinton, who is famously workaholic, is making good on a 2011 promise to herself to slow down after 20 years of being on the high wire of American politics. Over the last two decades, Clinton has worked full tilt as First Lady, New York senator, aspiring presidential candidate and finally the top US diplomat
Kerry has tried to mend the Obama administration’s frayed relationship with Pakistan. Reuters
Clinton has worked hard to transform US diplomacy on the nuts-and-coffee level and has dealt with foreign upheaval not seen since the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton’s signature initiative as America’s top diplomat is what has become known as the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia.”
America’s Asia pivot, which entails strengthening of strategic, economic and security ties in the Asia-pacific region, comes as China has unsettled its neighbours by renewed tensions over competing sovereignty claims in the South China Sea and with the expansion of its navy and improvements in missile capabilities.
While the US was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, China had the headroom to expand its influence in the region with allies like North Korea, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Rising China has spurred Clinton to consolidate America’s ties with regional powers like India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines in a policy pivot towards Asia.
There are many reasons Clinton will be missed, not the least because she maturely accepted that India and the US will not see eye-to-eye on all issues, nor will their interests always concur. Yet, she has always been a good friend to India and ensured the relationship is not cantankerous.
According to Indian diplomats, Clinton understood the glue that bound India and Iran which other Washington elites found so hard to fathom! She managed to tamp down unnecessary concern in Washington about India’s proximity to Iran. Instead of being an alarmist she saw India’s traditional ties with Iran as part of India’s smart eco-diplomacy.