After having spent about 97 minutes while watching the Third US Presidential Debate themed around foreign policy which took place yesterday, I am very disappointed to state that it had nothing substantial from the Indian point of view because the word ‘India’ was not even used once during the over one and a half hour long confrontation between the two candidates ie President Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The only interesting development for Indian diplomats and foreign policy analysts to take note of from the debate was the refusal of Governor Mitt Romney just like President Obama to divorce Pakistan and his decision of continuing to aid the troubled nation (if elected president), which he described as a technical ally but as one which was not acting like an ally. Romney also expressed support for the controversial drone attacks which the Obama administration has been carrying out in the tribal areas of Pakistan. While Governor Romney held Iran to be the biggest national security threat to the United States, President Obama described safeguarding religious minorities and empowering women in the Middle East as a big challenge. Both the competitors vowed to strengthen the American military by increasing the defense budget and to get the economy back on track. Lengthy discussions were held regarding the tense situation prevailing in countries like Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Israel and Pakistan. While references in some form or the other were made to nearly all powerful nations be it Russia, France, United Kingdom or even tiny players like Somalia and Turkey, it was China which seemed to be the one occupying the position as USA’s biggest competitor as both the candidates sounded increasingly worried about the economic tactics employed by the Communist nation. It’s really a shame that a country like India which is aspiring to become the next global superpower couldn’t manage to crawl into the centre of the debate even for a second. It’s just indicative of India’s insignificance at the international forum due to its spineless and non-committal foreign policy.