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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hillary Mission

Tarun Vijay
The Times of Calling

Saturday July 18, 2009

It's not just business. Secretary Clinton, getting a presidential security in Delhi, is seeking much more in India. The global power situation is in a flux. Hence the giants are following a hedging strategy - not to be seen siding with any camp but to feel the waters before the final polarization. At present, the currents are fast moving from G8 into the direction of a G2 situation, the two giants being the US and China. We are left behind and in Obama's strategic calculations; our role comes after Pakistan and China in this region. Immediately after her India visit, Clinton would be co-hosting on July 27 and 28 an inaugural meeting of an official strategic and economic dialogue with China.

Still, warmth between the two democracies is age-old and Obama has found a people here naturally inclined to his persona. This must come as the biggest asset for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was born just two months after India got her truncated independence. A Yale grad, she is a family-oriented person who showed great resilience and a deep commitment to save family during her most turbulent White House days. Once she said: "Our lives are a mixture of different roles. Most of us are doing the best we can to find whatever the right balance is . . . For me, that balance is family, work, and service." And truly her writings did reflect that depth, winning her worldwide laurels for her book "Other lessons children teach us".

Hillary Clinton is visiting India when the hopes are high and the roads are rough. She will have to show her best diplomatic skills better powered and confident than what we saw in her presidential campaign. Her visit is in the backdrop of India-Pakistan twitting in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the sound bites emerging from the Arab comfort zone have only confirmed Pakistan two-timing on taking Indian call on terror war. In spite of age and agility on his side, Pakistan's Gilani looked confusingly clever and our PM, though mild and soft, emerged as firmly speaking for Pakistan's cause. Quite strange and shocking indeed that we allowed Islamabad to include Balochistan without realizing that by a single 'B' insertion Pakistan will now always try to justify its bloody terrorism in Kashmir. No Indian government, whatever colour or party, ever conceded this kind of a severe self-goal which Manmohan Singh has done. Is there any explanation for this? And is there an American angle to it? What was the hurry to issue a controversial statement just on the eve of Secretary Clinton's India visit?

Before Hillary left for Mumbai, she said that her mission is to strengthen strategic ties with India. Good to hear that. It's in the interest of regional balance and to counter Islamic terror that a US-India friendship gets serious.

That she is not reaching Delhi first and would spend half her India visit at the Taj is a significant emotional statement to the people of India, deeply hurt with the 26/11 assault. It's also a bold support to those who fought the barbarians from Pakistan, boosting the morale of the Taj and its controllers capped with a lunch with Ratan Tata and other top Indian CEOs at an India-US CEOs forum. Once a rival to the presidential candidate Obama, she now represents his administration and there couldn't have been a better face.

The west has kept its region free from all strife while trying to control and guide the destinies of the other hemisphere for various reasons - oil, weapons market, energy and a geo-political hegemony. Ninety per cent of the contemporary tensions lie in our region, which has emerged as most volatile. Ethnic unrest, terrorism and separatist movements have engulfed millions from Iran to Xinjiang and Kabul to Mumbai and beyond. And with all that the US is at the centre blamed for flaming the fires or for not doing enough to extinguish them. Already trying to disentangle from Iraq, the US is keen to pursue a different strategy in Afghanistan and its commander Stanley is talking like a peace corps volunteer rather than an armed forces leader.

Most of our problems are a result of direct western intervention or its exploitative policies with a colonial mindset. Even carbon emissions, global warming and related ills are the results of the west's ruthless industrialization and annihilation of natural resources. Now they want us to share their burden and be an environmental-coolie for them.

Hillary and her bosses know well that India is different. There is a strong opposition, a vibrant democracy and a powerful presence of youth with high skills and ambitious dreams. A large section is suspicious of the nuke deal and the scenes created last summer while passing it in Parliament are reminders of a manipulative 'cash for vote' polity occurred, in common perception, under Washington's pressure. As Democrats, the Clintons were opposing the deal, though for a different reason, yet helped pass it with a hope that India will sign NPT. The US thinks nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty are important. We just can't take this piece of advice. Even the treasury benches and the opposition will unanimously reject any such suggestion.

It will be a tricky issue this time if Hillary chooses to touch it. None, in his senses will agree to it, whether in governance or in the opposition.

So she must concentrate on the mandate alone she has been given: bring business to the cash-starved US industry. Reactors, weapons and climate control programmes, all must fetch money to the US industry. Bringing buoyancy to the recession-hit American business community selling US nuclear reactors and weapons is the main course she would love to enjoy in Delhi. American lobbyists expect that the business for US industry may fetch export orders to India to the tune of $10 billion during this visit. At present US reactors are producing energy costing $4,000 per kilowatt, while India has been producing it at Tarapur and Kalpakkam at $2,000 per kilowatt. Still we need a huge amount of plutonium and hence the need for buying reactors. The other two anxieties include ensuring India accepts and makes a law for civil liabilities in reference to any nuke mishap and have a fool-proof arrangement for safeguarding nuclear fuel's end use in the civil sector.

Besides, she must assure Indians that dollars to Pakistan do not get used up against India and focused engagement with China doesn't mean India appears less importantly on the US radar. We remain important to the US for our money and mind power. Pakistan and China are strategic necessities. Dollars to Pakistan are a "useful" investment for the US that secures it a foothold in an Asian Muslim land to oversee central Asian Islamic countries and contain Chinese aspirations. India emerges important strategically only to block Chinese expansion eating away US influence in the region. It's for the Indian leadership not to become a pawn between the two rivals but assert its legitimately bigger role in the region. What Pakistan is doing to Taliban in Swat is just to please Washington and grease the dollar-path. It's for India to make Pakistan take firmer actions against terrorists using Pakistan as a safe house against us.

It's in our interest to stop sending applications to the US to contain Pakistan-sponsored terrorism on our land and devise an independent and strong policy to make Islamabad behave. In any case the Clinton era was less helpful in realistic terms than the Bush period and we will be deceiving ourselves to think that the Obama regime will help us out of the way Obama's Bangalore to Buffalo statements, lavish grants to Pakistan and first diplomatic gestures to China have been noted here. The Obama administration has made it clear that it would to see to it that India signs the NPT. Obama' Af-Pak policy doesn't envisage any significant role for India, though the region logically belongs to us and we have a stake in every development taking place here. Obama has also kept a studied silence over jihadi terrorism in Kashmir that has killed more than 60,000 Indians, mostly Hindus so far.

Winner is the one who thinks in terms of a victory and can take risks. This government of ours is capable of doing just the opposite.

The India visit must have also made Hillary realize that this is also a great reservoir of human wisdom, leading today's planet in knowledge sector and representing the highest density of world's youth power, having the dreams to realize them too. This India, as the largest population of the youth under 40 on earth today has responded warmly to Obama's elevation to US presidentship and it's perhaps for the first time since the Kennedy days that common people look to America as a friendly, warm and cordial power, quite different from the Bush era. That brings the dangers inherent in the high expectations mode - even a small negative gesture may ruin the atmosphere.


BK Chowla said...

I am not competent to comment but i must say that the post was very informative.Thank you
It will be a pleasure to meet you sometime

Thank You, NDA! said...

``Indian Navy is acquiring a second-hand refitted carrier that has half the life span and is 60% more expensive than a new one.''

Thank you, NDA!

Suicide by Sena-BJP said...

Further narrowing down Hindu vote, the BJP-Sena combine decided to sideline the ever strengthening MNS in the coming Assembly polls. Will it be another cakewalk for the Congress party?

captainjohann said...

You used to represent HINDUTVA interests.I donot see it here sir.It is actually bashing UPA while you know it is ManMohan who did a Morarji desai here.You think americans are desperate for Indian business and so will do anything.NO SIR. You are living in Myopia is you believe it. They very cleverly manipulated your party to oppose Foreign Origin Italian lady Sonia gandhi ( ably supported by socalled Hindu patriots who sign oath of allegiance to USA)that she could not be patriotic.They manipulated to have their man in congress.They manipulated NDA to have their man at helm.Now only Arun Shouri is waking upto the game.
Manmohan Singh,Montek singh,Shashi taroor are placed along with Deora and LK Advani and Prakash Karat so that Indian nuclear detterent is DEFANGED.
iF you have any doubt, read speach of Obama,Macain before elections on Nuclear non proliferation.
Now read US/CHINA text on Strategic coperation signed yeasterday.Read Milliband's statement on NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan with a fig leaf provided by ISI.What Gulbudinn Heketmayer is doing in riyadh with ISI,CIA chiefs, then slowly you will understand why India's interest is being sacrificed by the likes of US followers in India.Morarji might have been dead and gone but his spirit lives among the CII who fund our politicos.

Satish said...

The US's preoccupation with China is because of the well known fact that in twenty years or so, China will become the supreme country of the world and the US will be relagated to second-fiddle position.

The US has become fearful of China. Mrs Clinton reflects that fear.

India on the other hand demonstrates her weakness to even stand up to the weak Pakistanis even as the Pakistanis again begin to freely encourage Kashmir terrorist group activities to restart.

Was it Chairman Mao who said..