It is of “great concern” that Donald Trump has not sketched out his policy on the crucial South Asian region, a top Hillary Clinton Campaign adviser has said while asserting that the Democratic presidential nominee has a very strong record on ties with India.
If elected in the November general elections, Democratic presidential nominee Clinton would continue to strengthen the Obama Administration’s policy on India and work towards economic integration of the region, Daniel F Feldman, a foreign policy adviser of the Clinton Campaign, said.
“I have seen very little he (Trump) has said on South Asia. It is a great concern that he has not sketched out his policies on a range of these issues. We do not know where he is and when he has given some policies, he has gone back and forth many times,” Feldman told PTI on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention that ended yesterday.
“We have no idea who his (Trump’s) key advisers (on South Asia) are,” said Feldman, who previously served as the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and is currently associated with the international law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld.
South Asia, in the particular Af-Pak region, remains a conflict driven one and one that remain very dangerous, he said.
“Therefore we will continue to have national security interest to stay engaged and continue to try to advise on a more sustainable and more prosperous future, the one that is ultimately owned by the sovereign nations of the region,” Feldman said.
Clinton has deep experience travelling to the region spending significant amount of time in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he noted.
“I know that she would remain committed to the region and she continues to embrace the Obama Administration to the region, and also as she begins to access the information once she receives the other analysis as president, she would continue to determine what is the most pragmatic way forward to keep all of us more secure and stable,” Feldman said.
Clinton, he stressed, has a very strong record on ties with India not only as the secretary of state, but also as the Senator from New York when she formed Senate India Caucus, and was its founding Co-Chair.
“During her (term as secretary of state) India bilateral relationship grew quite a bit, strategic dialogue was launched, where she went frequently and worked on common issues and engaged multilaterally and regionally,” Feldman said.
“She recognises the broad opportunity of continuing the broader relationship with India and also to continue to develop relationship throughout the region,” he said. “This (South and Central Asia) remains one of the least connected, least integrated region of the world. Future is in a continued integration. And that should be done through the key partners, through sovereign nations. She would continue to support that integration. How and in what way is too premature,” he said.
Responding to a question on Indo-Pak relationship in the context of the ongoing tension between the two nations over Kashmir, Feldman, speaking in his personal capacity, said, “This is something India and Pakistan must workout together”.
“More channels of communications, whether that is through diplomatic channels, economic channels, through military channel, intelligence channels…the more channels of communication, the better and more stable the region,” he said.
Feldman said he “looks to the leadership of both India and Pakistan in making sure that they address these issues themselves.”
The former State Department official was also highly critical of Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric.
“What he (Trump) has said particularly diminishing key partnership like NATO and tearing up international agreements and not recognising the importance of climate change, this is incredibly dangerous for all of us,” he said.
“The hallmark of Clinton’s policy proposals are continuing to building and strengthening international alliances so that we can address these critical issues of counter terrorism, of security, of climate change, nuclear weaponry that we can work together as opposed to further isolating ourselves,” Feldman said.