Republican Presidential Aspirant for Stronger Ties with India

Washington, Oct 11 (IANS): Calling for a reassessment of the US relationship with Pakistan, a key aspirant for Republican presidential nomination has suggested instead forging a stronger relationship with India in a new "Pacific Century".

"Certain realities" with Pakistan had to be recognised, said Jon Huntsman, who resigned his job as the US ambassador to China earlier this year to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, in a speech at Southern New Hampshire University in Hooksett Monday.

"This is not a relationship based on shared values. It is transactional at best," he said instead calling for a stronger relationship with India, through encouraging trade agreements.

He said those stronger ties would also help US counterterrorism interests through better intelligence gathering.

"I think a stronger relationship with India would allow us to gain that understanding," said Huntsman, a former Utah governor.

Huntsman said he backed India's bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

A new "Pacific Century" was dawning as population, economic power and military might shifted toward the Asia-Pacific region, he said and the US must strengthen its relationship with China and India to navigate it.

He also called for scaling back US involvement in international military engagements, including Afghanistan, and cutting military spending.

"We must right-size our current foreign entanglements," he said. "Simply put, we are risking American blood and treasure in parts of the world where our strategy needs to be rethought."

Adopting a hawkish stance on Iran, Huntsman said he would consider using force to prevent a nuclear-capable Iran.

"I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran. If you want an example of when I would consider the use of American force, it would be that," he said.


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Title: Republican Presidential Aspirant for Stronger Ties with India

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