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Posted on Oct 10, 10:49AM | IANS
While President Barack Obama has described US-India relationship as one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, his Republican challenger Mitt Romney made no reference to India in a major foreign policy speech.
Accusing Obama of failing to provide global leadership expected by the rest of the world, especially key allies such as Israel, Romney Monday promised to restore US foreign policy to its post world war role based on exerting global influence through military and economic power.
In an address at the Virginia Military Institute, he cited recent protests and violence in Arab countries, including the attack on the US consulate Benghazi in Libya that killed the American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others, as examples of failure of Obama's foreign policy.
"It is our responsibility and the responsibility of our president to use America's great power to shape history - not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events," Romney said, "Unfortunately, this president's policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership and nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East," he said noting, "Hope is not a strategy".
"There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East-and it is not unique to that region," Romney said. "It is broadly felt by America's friends and allies in other parts of the world as well," he said listing world's various troubled spots.
Romney, however, grudgingly acknowledged Obama administration's success in hunting down Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan "America can take pride in the blows that our military and intelligence professionals have inflicted on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. These are real achievements won at a high cost," he said.
On Afghanistan, Romney said he wouldn't let politics dictate policy but said he would also "pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014", the same deadline Obama has given.
On Iran, Romney said he would continue and escalate the Obama administration's economic sanctions and pledged to move two carrier groups within striking distance should Tehran develop a nuclear weapon anew.
In response to Romney's speech, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the Republican candidate's positions are in most cases similar to Obama's policies, while former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright accused Romney of repeatedly shifting his views.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)