Republican Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy pitches for stronger US-India relationship

Republican Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy pitches for stronger US-India relationship

Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate has advocated for stronger partnerships with India, South Korea, and Japan as a strategic approach to decrease the United States’ economic reliance on China and Taiwan.

Ramaswamy has experienced a surge in his poll numbers subsequent to his participation in the initial Republican presidential primary debate last week. On Tuesday, he articulated his proposed initiatives and perspectives concerning foreign policy.

In his statements, Ramaswamy criticized another Indian American Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley. She had previously criticized him for his perceived lack of expertise in matters of foreign policy.

“We will enter a stronger partnership with India that involves an Indian commitment to close the Malacca Strait in the event of a near-term conflict with Taiwan, and enter stronger partnerships with other allies including South Korea and Japan to reduce our economic dependence on China and Taiwan,” Ramaswamy said.

The entrepreneur-turned-politician Ramaswamy said he favours strategic clarity and advocated that the US must defend Taiwan vigorously until America achieves semiconductor independence, then resume the posture of strategic ambiguity when the stakes are lower for the US.

“The American way of life depends on leading-edge semiconductors manufactured in Taiwan, and we can’t risk China gaining near-total leverage over the entire US economy,” he said.

“By saying that we will defend Taiwan, the US can strongly deter China from blockading or invading the island in the near term. Meantime, Taiwan should more than double its own military expenditures to a more rational level of 4  to 5 per cent of its gross domestic product,” he said.

He said the US should rapidly arm and train Taiwan with Anti-Access/Area Denial weapons while running at least one Destroyer warship through the Taiwan Strait each week.

The US should also fortify its own homeland defence, which is at present dangerously vulnerable to major conflicts with China, he said, adding this includes improving nuclear, super electromagnetic pulse, cyber and space defence capabilities.

His campaign said that Ramaswamy is the only US Presidential candidate to date who has clearly stated that the US will defend Taiwan.

“I am the only Presidential candidate willing to state what is necessary: we will defend Taiwan. The US currently doesn’t even recognise Taiwan as a nation. Democrats and Republicans both unquestioningly endorse the ‘one China’ policy and embrace “strategic ambiguity” toward the island,” Ramaswamy said.

Hitting out at Haley, Ramaswamy’s campaign in a statement said that in a desperate attempt to raise funds for her languishing establishment campaign, the former US ambassador to the UN was intentionally lying about Ramaswamy.

Haley has blasted Ramaswamy for not backing US allies. According to his campaign, Haley flatly lied on Fox News that “Ramaswamy said he would abandon Israel, those were his words” and that “he wants to go and stop funding Israel.”

“This is false,” his campaign asserted in a late-night statement. “We challenge the failing Haley campaign and any media outlet to find a single instance where Ramaswamy utters that he would not support Israel. They will not – because Ramaswamy never said it. Instead, they continue to recycle blatantly false headlines that they manufactured,” the statement said.

Ramaswamy said that if Israel ever gets to the point that it no longer needs US financial support, that would be a mark of achievement – but that the US will never cut off aid to Israel until Israel says they are ready for it, his campaign said.

It all started about a week ago when Haley at the debate stage accused Ramaswamy of not having any foreign policy experience.

Since then, the Ohio-based Indian American has been attacked both by the media and his political opponents for his inexperience on foreign policy.

On Tuesday, Ramaswamy used the ‘Namrata Randhawa’ name of Nikki Haley on his website.

“I’m not going to get involved in these childish name games. It’s pretty pathetic. First of all, I was born with Nikki on my birth certificate. I was raised as Nikki. I married a Haley. And so that is what my name is.

“So, he can say or misspell or do whatever he wants, but he can’t step away from the fact that, he’s the one that said he was going to abandon Israel,” Haley told Fox News in response.

“Those were his words. Now he’s wanting to walk it back. And the reality is, you have to understand the importance of our allies and those relationships. We can never be so narcissistic to think that we don’t need friends,” she said.

It is not that Israel needs America. America needs Israel too, Haley said. “Israel faces genocidal threats from Hamas, from Hezbollah, from Iran, from Syria. You need a president that understands that that understands that Israel is the front line of defence when it comes to us dealing with Islamic terrorism in Iran,” she claimed.

“And he just doesn’t get it. So, look, I mean, I think you can tell a lot about the kind of leader someone will be based on how they run their campaign. And he’s doing that all on his own,” Haley said.

Later in the night, Ramaswamy’s campaign issued a statement against Haley.

“We wish Ambassador Haley and her family well in their future careers in the private sector, noting that they rapidly generated an impressive fortune as military contractors following her short-lived stint as US Ambassador to the United Nations,” the campaign said.

Ramaswamy said the US relationship with Israel is a model example of how international relationships should work.

Israel spends a greater percentage of its own GDP on defence than any major nation. Seventy per cent of the aid the US provides to Israel must be spent in the US, and by 2028 the mandate is 100 per cent. This is consistent with ‘America-First’ foreign policy objectives, he said.

“By the end of my first term, our relationship with Israel will be stronger than it has ever been. I will consummate Abraham Accords 2.0 by the end of 2025, adding Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Indonesia to the pact. We will work with Israel to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon that advances US interests,” Ramaswamy said.

“I won’t end our aid to Israel until the day when Israel tells the US they are ready for it. That’s what true friends do: they speak honestly and openly to one another. I will speak to Bibi and invite him to the White House, something that President Biden is shamefully frightened to do,” he said.

With inputs from PTI.

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