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Trump backs 'leadership role' for India, slams China and Russia

New York, Dec 19 (IANS) President Donald Trump has unveiled his “America First National Security Strategy” giving India a “leadership role” in the “broader” Indo-Pacific region and taking a hardline on China and Russia, provoking strong reactions from Beijing and Moscow.

The security plan released on Monday said: “We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region.”

Washington also pledged to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia and India.

“We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defense partner. We will seek to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia and India.”

Trump’s security strategy also stated that the US would continue to push Pakistan to speed up its counter-terrorism efforts.

“We will press Pakistan to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts, since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials,” it said.

“The US will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets.”

In a year-end, campaign-style speech in central Washington, the President warned of rising threats from an emboldened Russia and China.

He called Moscow and Beijing “revisionist powers” who “want to shape a world antithetical to US values and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity”.

“They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.” But, he said, the US must attempt to build a “great partnership with them”.

Trump stopped short of calling out Moscow for its election meddling.

He said intellectual property theft would be targeted, a clear warning to China which American companies have complained about for years. “We will no longer tolerate trading abuse.”

Beijing slammed Washington and asked it to “abandon its Cold War mentality and zero-sum game concept”. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned Washington that failure to do so “would only harm itself as well as others”.

The Kremlin said Trump’s security sounded “imperalist” and said the “mentions of Russia demonstrated the imperial nature of the document” and showed “an aversion to a multi-polar world”.

The new policy also mentioned North Korea and Iran as “rogue governments”.

Trump described “four pillars” to his new plan: protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity, demonstrating peace through strength and advancing American influence.

The 68-page document, which White House officials began work on 11 months ago, suggested a return to Trump’s campaign promise of “America First”. “A nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad,” he said.

Trump emphasised that the US had been cheated and taken advantage of abroad while its citizens were ill-served at home — a situation he said his security plan would seek to reverse.

In his speech, Trump referred to his election victory, saying that in 2016 voters chose to “Make America Great Again”. He boasted about his achievements and reiterated that Americans have been left behind as a result of decisions made by past administrations, including on immigration, the Iran nuclear deal and trade pacts.

“Now less than one year later I am proud to report that the entire world has heard the news and has seen the signs,” he said. “America is coming back and America is coming back strong.”

He said that past administrations didn’t now how to cut trade deals.

“Our leaders in Washington negotiated disastrous trade deals that brought massive profits to many foreign nations but sent thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs to those other countries.”

He outlined his campaign promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico as well as reform the immigration visa system.

The new policy stressed economic security but did not recognize climate change as a national security threat.

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