Australia and India are a key countries for the U.S.’ Asia pivot, said Tuesday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Australia is a gateway to the vibrant trade and energy routes that connect the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, the oil, the natural gas, the iron ore produced here that flows through those trade routes to the entire world, Clinton said.
Clinton made the comments while in Perth, Australia as part of her current Asia tour, which will lead her later this week to Singapore, and then on to Thailand to meet with President Obama before they both visit Burma. Obama Administration officials are traveling this week throughout Asia to reinforce ties in the region.
Clinton said it is no surprise that foreign investment is soaring in the region, “including more than $100 billion from the United States, because increasingly, these waters are at the heart of the global economy and a key focus of America’s expanding engagement in the region, what we sometimes call our pivot to Asia.”
That said, Clinton insisted that the U.S. has “never actually left Asia; we’ve always been here and been a presence here. We consider ourselves a Pacific power.”
Clinton also had special words for the relationship with India.
“In the 21st century, it’s important that we make absolutely clear we are here to stay. And how we think about the Asia Pacific or the Indo Pacific region is going to be critical,” Clinton said. “We’ve made it a strategic priority to support India’s Look East policy and to encourage Delhi to play a larger role in Asian institutions and affairs. And it’s exciting to see the developments as the world’s largest democracy and a dynamic emerging economy begin to contribute more broadly to the region.”
Clinton said it is also important to see the burgeoning relationship between Australia and India.
“We support a Look West policy here in Australia, and certainly applaud the Australian Government’s strategic white paper on Asian policy. We would welcome joint Australia-Indian naval vessel exercises in the future, and we’re eager to work together in the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation which Australia will chair in 2013 and which the United States has now joined as a dialogue partner,” Clinton said.