The Indian government is going to be America’s “great ally” and there is a need to nurture this relationship, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan has said.
In a major foreign policy speech here in which he was highly critical of President Barack Obama’s policies, the US-India relationship was the only aspect of it which was appreciated by Ryan.
“I think you need, and in particular, specifically under Modi’s leadership, and he and I have discussed this at great length yesterday, (US-India) have a great potential for the future particularly with the seas, in the Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, making sure that we help police the global commons and international order, namely China building, you know, runways on islands in contested areas,” Ryan said.
Modi was the first foreign leader to be invited to address a joint sitting of the Congress under Ryan’s speakership.
On Wednesday, Modi and Ryan had a one-on-one interaction before the Prime Minister’s address. Ryan also hosted a lunch for the visiting leader.
A day later, Ryan was all in praise for Modi.
“I think the Indian (government), the new Indian government, is going to be a great ally of ours and we have better security cooperation with them. That’s one thing that we need to nurture and grow,” Ryan told the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think tank.
“And those of us who are fans of Modi, you know, he’s a conservative who wants, who embraces free enterprise. He’s bringing needed reform to the country,” Ryan said, according to the remarks released by his office.
“That’s the kind of an alliance that we need to forge and build upon. That stands in stark contrast, I would argue, to the Obama foreign policy of the last eight years where we have neglected our allies and we have basically rewarded our enemies, our adversaries,” said the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
Except for his comments on India, Ryan slammed Obama’s foreign policy.
“We know that this new Obama foreign policy concept, leading from behind, can now be declared an unambiguous failure. It is making us unprepared. It is reducing our military capability and strength,” he alleged. “It is confusing our allies and incentivising our adversaries. And all that does is tempt fate. So we are saying we’ve got to reset our system. We’ve got to restructure and reaffirm our foreign policy, in particular our military policy if we want to prevent these problems on the horizon from getting out of control,” Ryan said.
In response to a question, he said Modi’s address to the joint session of the Congress was a great day.
“So we just heard the prime minister of India at the Capitol Hill yesterday. It was a great day. He spoke before Congress and it was a great moment for the growing friendship between our two countries. The main reason I think this moment was so notable is that nowadays it’s so rare,” Ryan said referring to the bipartisan support that India-US relationship enjoys in the Congress.
“On the past seven years, our friendships have frayed. Our rivalries have intensified. It’s not too much to say that our enemies no longer fear us and too many of our allies no longer trust us,” he said.
In the Republican document on foreign policy and national security released by Ryan, the party said India and the US working together for betterment of the world.
“We must also embrace emerging partners that could help keep the peace in their region and beyond,” the document said.
“India, the world’s largest democracy, shares common interests with the world’s oldest democracy, the United States and we must build upon that foundation to work together in shaping world events,” it said.
As part of its objective of advancing American interest, the 25-page document calls for “deepening relations” with emerging powers like India.
The foreign policy document released by Ryan is also critical of the Pakistan policy of the Obama Administration.
The Obama administration failed to prioritise economic growth in its approach to foreign aid and development, preferring high-profile “presidential initiatives” and short-term responses such as loan guarantees and enterprise funds, it said.
“In places like Pakistan, the administration has made major investments in infrastructure but failed to accomplish the reforms necessary to create a positive environment for economic growth. Without reform, these initiatives will do little to improve livelihoods,” the policy paper said.