Thursday, June 3, 2010

OBAMA: A RE-LOOK AT INDIA

B.RAMAN


Imparting greater importance to the USA's strategic relations with India without adding to the unease of China and Pakistan---- that has emerged as the keynote of the new US strategy towards India.


2. Comments of US leaders and officials in the run-up to the high-level strategic dialogue at the ministerial level currently under way in Washington DC and the pre-announced decision of President Barack Obama to attend the reception being hosted by Mrs.Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, in honour of the Indian delegation on June 3,2010, indicate a realisation by the policy-makers of the Obama Administration of the need to take note of the widespread impression in India that since he took over as the President the importance attached to the US relations with India has been downgraded and the warmth towards India at the level of the President, which characterised the attitude of the Bush Administration towards India, has disappeared in less than a year after Mr.Obama took over as the President.


3. Credit for drawing the attention of the Obama Administration to the downslide in the comfort level between the two countries should go to analysts in India as well as the US---- more particularly to the well-wishers of India in US non-governmental circles who kept sounding a wake-up call to the Obama Administration that the gains of the second term of Mr.George Bush when Indo-US relations really started moving forward quantitatively and qualitatively were being diluted by a perceived lack of adequate attention to India.


4. This perceived lack of adequate attention to India could be attributed to Mr.Obama's search for a workable exit policy from Afghanistan before the next Presidential elections for which the co-operation of Pakistan was considered necessary and for a workable economic recovery policy and a nuclear non-proliferation policy towards North Korea and Iran for which the co-operation of China was deemed necessary.


5. There was a compulsion on the Obama Administration to take note of the Pakistani concerns over the growing Indian presence in Afghanistan and of Chinese concerns that the growing Indo-US ties under Mr.Bush were motivated by a common desire to balance China with Japan brought in for this purpose. The first few months of the Obama Administration were devoted to addressing these concerns of Pakistan and China without realising that excessive attention to these concerns could have a negative impact on the relations with India.



6. The open articulation by officials of the Obama Administration and some non-Governmental experts of the concerns of Pakistan over India’s role in Afghanistan and the impression that they wittingly or unwittingly conveyed to India that they found these concerns understandable and the stepped-up military assistance to Pakistan, which was unrelated to its performance in action against terrorists operating from Pakistani territory, created an impression in India of a re-hyphenation of the US policies towards India and Pakistan, which had been discarded by the Bush Administration.



7. The unannounced jettisoning by Mr.Obama of the various strategic initiatives undertaken by the Bush Administration in the US and the Manmohan Singh Government in India for balancing China through enhancing India’s power and status in the Asian region, joint naval exercises in areas of interest to China and by associating Japan with some of these initiatives and his action during his visit to China in November 2009 in reviving the policy of the Clinton Administration of encouraging an activist role for China in South Asia----particularly in Indo-Pakistan matters---- created an impression in India that a convergence of China-related perceptions, which was a defining characteristic of the policies of the Bush Administration towards India was no longer a motivating factor in the White House.



8. These two impressions---which were valid---- tended to weaken the foundations of the Indo-US strategic architecture built up under Mr.Bush. The welcome indications of a greater focus on India in recent weeks and the beginnings of a course correction in policy-making towards India underline a realization by Mr.Obama of the intrinsic importance of a sound and healthy strategic partnership between India and the US. This does not presage a possible downgrading of the importance attached to Pakistan and China.



9.While the Obama Administration is convinced of the need to impart quality and momentum to Indo-US relations, this exercise will be based not on perceptions of common threats facing the two countries, but common ideals such as promotion of democracy and common interests such as counter-terrorism, climate, knowledge and agriculture related initiatives etc.



10. The Obama Administration will take care to ensure that its course corrections give a feeling of satisfaction to India without adding to the concerns of Pakistan and China. Common bilateral ideals and interests will be the motivating factors. Moderating Pakistan and balancing China will not be the motivating factors.



11. While encouraging the Obama Administration’s search for a New Look Indo-US Strategic Partnership by responding positively to its ideas which would be in Indian interest and by coming out with ideas of our own, India should refrain from looking at the US while giving a new direction to its policies towards Pakistan and China. ( 3-6-10)



( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

7 comments:

ambi said...

What ever sir, after lots of pain, India had somehow managed to put this 'Genie' in the bottle, & had sealed the cap with 'no talks are possible till actions agst. terror infrastructure is taken.' written on it. world was at peace temporarily.

Intellectual Obama & highly intellectual Manmohan removed that cap. Now that devil is out of the bottle, free again to play its game & whole world is at risk again. Go now. Run after that Devil with your bottle again.

Stupid idiots. Now kayani, Shuja Pasha, Hakimullah Mehsud, Hafeez Sayeed, Obama & Manmohan will sleep tight & CIA, RAW & other country's intelligence Chiefs will have sleepless nights.

By the way, Talks are going on, on26.06.10 so all Indians shld remain cautious on 26, which is on saturday, till 30. 06. 10. Some how i feel we shld remain prepared for some big crackers.

Sarang said...

If you look at the media reports about the so-called 'Strategic Dialogue' between India and US, you will once again realize that this is nothing but a dumb, no-result-oriented PR exercise which will have absolutely no impact on Indian security or economy in the long run. Only big words are said. Absolutely no on-the-ground hard deals were made. Just you wait...in the next few days (or as soon as FM Krishna boards his return palne to India) Pakistan is going to receive a huge consignment of weapons just to balance things off with India.

And we are busy making merry at the hint of Obamamamama visiting India sometime later in the year. Hilarious Hilllllllary said US is committed to 'consider' India for UNSC seat. Now, what in the HELL does that mean????!!

We Indians have not yet got out of our blind admiration for white-skin, thats all! Painfull to accept, but true!!

nri2008 said...

Obama is just blowing hot air to placate India while arming Pakistan with military goodies. Any fool with even slightest commonsense knows Obama is taking India for a ride while selling out India's interests in Afghanistan. PM Singh comes across clearly as An American puppet with his hawkish stance on Indo-USA nuclear deal with imaginary benefits for Indian public at least in short term to medium term. he prefers to be HMV (NOT Her majesty's voice as in UK but His Master's Voice). Most galling of all is pM Singh's cracking under American pressure and supplicating to Pakis despite innumerable terrorist attacks. Some times one wonders whether he is working for India or Indian businessmen and American lobby! it is high time the good Professor Dr.Singh retired for a more realist PM to take over. India has been rescued to banana republic under a regime where Indian Prime Minister President kowtows to the Congress Party President and Congress party works against its own Government in favour of the Maoists!
Jai Hind!

Sarang said...

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Legalairs/entry/why-canada-should-not-have

India bashing has become a fashion not only for foreigners but even for Indians nowadays. It clearly shows not only the extremely low levels of respect and admiration the world has for India, but also the dwindling pride and honour Indians feel about their own country. Feels as though our country is rapidly spiralling down an abyss of disorder, chaos, lawlessness, poverty, insecurity and many other social ills.

Indian politics needs someone like Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni to infuse a sence of aggression, pride, honor, committment, success and confidence in the Indian people. Sadly, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for now.

ambi said...

Dont worry Sarang, its a part of psy war, where media & other mediums are effectively & deliberately used to influence the minds of target people. It’s a deliberate attempt to humiliate & demoralize ordinary Indians & to create confusion in our minds.

For example, Massive psy war is also launched to sabotage EU & EURO, through publications & other media, (ehem, we know by whom, no need to take a name). Different mediums are used to influence the minds of ordinary people in Eurozone Agst EU & Euro.

Good thing is that, so far, EU is safe & no one is talking of dropping EURO. If EU & Euro survives this crisis, you ll see massive erosion in US influence all across the world.

USA is just a paper tiger. Its power rests in USD. If Euro survives, (which it will it seems), then USD will lose its sole reserve currency status. Thus reducing its influence in world dramatically & how.

Same is with India. No need to listen to this Propaganda. We know what India is, & what it is going to be in future. We know whats happening here. We are living India, isn't it?

Of course Chairman Mao Mohan & Krishna are pain. But good thing is that India will have to live with them only for 4 yrs. & Then we ll get rid of them. & Take it from me! India is going to be very influencing power in coming decades. Its written on wall. So ignore this psy war. Cheers.

Sarang said...

Hi Ambi, what you say is absolutely right.

The sad thing is we don't seem to be counter atacking this psy-war. Looka at China...I stay abroad and the supermarkets here are filled with cheap globes and atlas from China showng Kashmir as a separate country and Arunachal Pradesh as a part of itself. Even European made maps (or google maps) show India completely wrong. S.M Krishna was made to sit on the third row in the London conference for Afghanistan. No one even heard his views. The Canadian visa thing is the latest in a series of insults. Thats why we have become the laughing stock and a punching bag for the world. Stupid people who dream of winning the Nobel Peace prize brazenly come to India and lecture us (in our own capital!!!) about keeping the peace with Pakistan by compromising more..

And INDIA DOES NOT EVEN PROTEST AT ANY OF THESE INSULTS!!!

Thats what get me angry as a bull...

John Kneeland said...

I was hoping more educated Indians would have grown up after the decades of hearing gov nonsense about the "Foreign hand" CIA plotting against India.

I guess Ambi proves we still have some way to go, both in dropping paranoia and in figuring out what exactly international power is.