US forged ‘strategic partnership’ with India in Obama’s tenure: John Kerry

Washington: The US has forged a “strategic partnership” with India in the eight years of Obama administration which also considerably improved America’s standing in the world, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said, two weeks ahead of demitting the office.

“In Asia, we have been standing side by side with our friends, strengthening sanctions on North Korea, improving regional missile defence capabilities, supporting the rule of law in the South China Sea and forging a strategic partnership with India, enhancing our ties with Vietnam and spurring democratic progress in Myanmar where a freely elected parliament has been seated for the first time,” Kerry said.

In what was described as Kerry’s last press conference in his capacity as Secretary of State, the top American diplomat, while addressing reporters at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, said because of the policies undertaken by the Obama administration in the last eight years, the US’ standing in the world has improved from what it was in 2009.

“We will turn over to our successors a country whose international standing is much improved from 2009 when President (Barack) Obama took office eight years ago. No one should forget the incredible fertility of the global economic crisis as a consequence of the late 2008 early 2009 economic disaster that we faced on a global basis,” he said.

Economically, the country has moved from the depths of crisis to robust levels of exports, the longest sustained period of private sector job growth in US history, Kerry said.

“Our overseas alliances in Europe and Asia are vigorous and strong. We have strengthened what we do in Asia, strengthened the relationship between Korea and Japan, strengthened our relationship trilaterally with Korea and Japan, worked effectively with China to try to define a new model of how important powers need to work in the world.

“We have strengthened our alliance with NATO, strengthened our alliance with the frontline states. Our level of security support to a democratic Israel is unprecedented.

Across the globe, we have helped ensure that a child entering the world today is more likely to be born healthy, more likely to receive the necessary vaccinations, more likely to be educated, more likely to live a long life than any previous generation and that is just as true for women and girls as it is for men and boys,” Kerry said.

The US has been more deeply engaged in more places to greater effect than at any time in the American history, adding that the strategy of the Obama administration against ISIS is paying dividend as the terrorist outfit is fast losing out its territories, the US Secretary of State said.

“Before long, Daesh’s phony caliphate is going to have been turned to dust. Now, that does not mean that the whole threat of Daesh is gone all of a sudden. No, it is not. Daesh obviously continues to adapt in certain ways to these changing circumstances and so the threat adapts with it and they will most likely try to establish new footholds or to instigate and to inspire isolated attacks,” Kerry said.

America and its coalition partners are on the right path, both diplomatically and militarily, he said.

“We need to stay on that course. I guarantee you that over the period of this next year and into the future, Daesh is going to be thoroughly defeated. We also need to remember that we will not defeat these terrorists anywhere at any place without the help from the one group that has been most victimised by terrorism, and that is our friends and our partners in the Islamic world itself,” Kerry said.

Kerry also highlighted Iran nuclear agreement, saying it is a demonstration of the power of diplomacy to be able to address major international problems short of war.

Climate Change was another major focus of the Obama administration which resulted in the Paris accord, he said.

“Our initiative to reach out to China, change the trajectory of possibilities after the disappointment of Copenhagen where China had been on the other side, but because we reached out and we engaged proactively in diplomacy, and were able to reach agreement with China.

“President Obama and President Xi were able to stand up together in Beijing, and together announce the unity of the two largest emitters in the world, emitters of gases, to come together to try to forge an agreement in Paris,” Kerry added.