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India-US: Really Friends?

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By Hemant Jain

India US relations

The relationship between the US and India was cold and often thorny. This was due to the closeness of the US towards India’s arch-rival Pakistan during the War, with Pakistan joining the US-led Western Bloc in 1954. The relations worsened further with India pursuing a policy of being neutral.

With the advent of time, America distanced itself from Pakistan, owing to former’s closeness with China and eventually became friends with India. In the year of 2000, Clinton visited India without having any pre-intention whereas the dictatorial followed by the U.S. since 1991. It was the turning point in Indo-US relation with other substantial effect.

It is the same US who had earlier put sanctions against India through UN for the use nuclear energy was now appreciating India on its nuclear development. This goes very well with a Hindi pro-verb,”BADALTE RISHTE” i.e. Relations change according to needs.

Similarly, in the aftermath of 9/11, strategic pundits in the West, hastily, predicted that mass-casualty attacks by non-state entities would replace conventional state Vs state conflict. The reasons were not far to see. At a juncture when America saw itself as the world’s sole super-power, this was the first major attack on continental USA. Moreover, this was their first experience of a terrorist strike at close quarters – something that India had been experiencing for over a decade. The situation has, however, changed since 2001, and the Coalition campaigns have not just inflicted substantive attrition on terrorist organizations, but also eroded their financial and organizational capability to attempt long-range strikes.

So American leaders are again talking up the India relationship. In Delhi this month, Leon Panetta, the defence secretary, called India a “linchpin” of the “rebalancing” strategy.  John kerry, the secretary of state, noted that “the strategic fundamentals of our relationship are pushing our two countries’ interests into closer convergence.”

But India fears being left in the lurch as NATO skedaddles out of Afghanistan. Its security priority is to receive credible reassurances on plans for stabilising Afghanistan and ensuring it never again

Obama made a good trip to India in November 2010, but his promise to seek a permanent UN Security Council seat for India, voiced during that visit, may not be actionable, because it begs the broader question of what other permanent members should be added to the Security Council — a highly contentious subject around the world, to put it mildly.

According to Gallup‘s annual public opinion polls, India is perceived by Americans as their 6th favourite nation in the world, 75% in 2012. As of 2012, Indian students form the second-largest group, representing 13.1% of all foreigners pursuing higher education in America. Yet in the very same year a Vijayawada student was killed in America, which truly reflects that there is no security for Indians in USA.

President Obama has called the U.S.-India relationship “defining partnership of the 21st century,” but it took Secretary of State John Kerry six days after the Devyani Khobragade’s arrest to make a phone call to New Delhi.

A big question raised here is that,

“Is this the way how a partnership is carried”?

Whether the diplomat is guilty or not, Washington must consider the implications of a long, drawn-out public trial. The U.S.-India relationship, which has blossomed over the last decade, is crucial not only for regional peace and security in South Asia but also for the stabilization of Afghanistan, for ebbing the forces of religious extremism and for ensuring a fair balance of power in Asia.

India-US has some areas of common interest as well as issues of divergence. Contextual to the rapid closeness of US to India after 2000, it is moving towards India’s benefit. But the relation is based on “CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM. “

INDIA has to make substantial benefits of closeness with USA and may use this to resolve South Asian problems in the coming years.

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