Kerry, India and the AfPak question

Sources close to the powerful first family have told this writer that they see India as an ‘irritating gnat that can be smacked away at will’

US secretary of state John Kerry’s three-day visit to India commencing today takes place in unpropitious circumstances. The ties between the two countries have grown steadily in recent times, President Barack Obama calling it a defining partnerships of the 21st century.

It is a wide-spectrum relationship without being an alliance of the kind that Pakistan, Egypt, Israel, or the West Europeans have with Washington.
There have been some notable successes in it, but also difficult patches, perhaps the most conspicuous being the hiccups caused by India’s nuclear liability laws which US nuclear product firms have cited as a disincentive for setting up nuclear power establishments in India, although the French and the Russians have not been similarly deterred. Nevertheless, the ties between the two countries are of such an order as to warrant an institutionalised annual strategic dialogue at the level of foreign minister.
Mr Kerry will be here for this wide-angle conversation. Suspicion will remain, however, that on the eve of the secretary of state’s arrival, the US has orchestrated an anti-India campaign in Senate and Congress, ducking behind some routine industry and trade-related issues which ought to have been dealt with through normal channels. This is a pity. It makes nonsense of the short video message released ahead of the Kerry visit dedicated to the praise of India-US relations.
The US political class will do well to bear in mind that there is enough latent anti-Americanism in India that can go off the handle if relations are not tended with care on both sides. We are both democracies and that has to be respected. The fact also has to be respected that India knows best how to chart its course in its own neighbourhood, and needs no one’s tutelage.
In light of the concerted US attempt earlier this week to appease Pakistan by seeking to accord legitimacy to the Taliban in the guise of energising the Afghan peace process by cooking up a trickster’s office for the extremist group in Doha, doubts will linger that Washington is trying to arm-twist India in going along with it on the Afghanistan question. This is an impossibility, of course, and New Delhi has made that quite clear through a detailed statement questioning the move to confer legitimacy on the Taliban.
There is enough going for the India-America relationship, so long as Pakistan, in our immediate neighbourhood, is not privileged in a way that gives it strategic advantage. Mr Kerry comes here with the reputation of being strongly pro-Pakistan. That can hardly be of help. He will do well to see that the Afghanistan-Pakistan question does not overwhelm other elements of the strategic dialogue.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/238254" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-8af9c270b0d5af41cc1e8f2971afae77" value="form-8af9c270b0d5af41cc1e8f2971afae77" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="62414253" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.