November 17, 2004


India through a new prism: Condoleezza Rice's move to the State Department is music to the ears in Delhi. Along with the next national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, she is the original architect of an expanded relationship with India and in giving it high priority in the Bush administration. Pakistan, though, might not be as pleased. (Siddharth Srivastava, 11/18/04, Asia Times)

NEW DELHI - India has reason to be happy over the appointment of the two people who will ostensibly command US foreign and strategic relations with the rest of the world in the second administration of President George W Bush. The next secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, as well as the next national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, have played key roles in a paradigm shift in US policy toward India, incorporating long-standing demands as well as removing India's grouses in US policy toward India.

Rice, whose nomination follows Colin Powell's announcement on Monday of his resignation, is considered the original architect of an expanded relationship with India and in giving it high priority and a fresh focus in the Bush administration. The Indian Foreign Ministry was never comfortable working with Powell, who despite being the lone moderate voice and other achievements, was not a Bush confidant and did not share the president's larger vision of India. On the other hand, unlike with his boss in the US, Powell enjoyed a personal rapport with Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf, referred to here as "general-to-general speak", that India was never comfortable with. Rice had to face several roadblocks by State Department mandarins (under Powell) who tried to dilute the agreements as well as expand the benchmarks for further cooperation. She will be their boss now.

A September 2000 interview with The International Economy sums up Rice's views on foreign policy vis-a-vis India. She said: "We need to encourage new centers of stability, new centers of prosperity. Let me give you an example: India. This is a country that we have generally treated as if it is simply a nuclear problem and a problem concerning Kashmir, and that's all we ever talk about with India. But this is an emerging knowledge economy that has a real place in the new international economy."

As the main foreign-policy adviser to candidate Bush in the presidential campaign of 2000, Rice argued in an article published in Foreign Affairs that the United States "should pay closer attention to India's role in the regional balance". She went on: "There is a strong tendency conceptually [in the US] to connect India with Pakistan and to think only of Kashmir or the nuclear competition between the two states. But India is an element in China's calculation, and it should be in America's, too. India is not a great power yet, but it has the potential to emerge as one."

It is not unlikely that Colin Powell will be the last Secretary of State ever to take Europe more seriously than the Axis of Good.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2004 12:24 PM

Unless Hillary is elected president in 2008 and nominates her so-called husband as secretary of state.

Posted by: Peter at November 17, 2004 2:20 PM

Peter - You think Bill will be eager for foreign affairs?

Posted by: pj at November 17, 2004 3:39 PM

As long as it are affairs, he'll have them. Affairs with interns, externs, foreign and domestic, domesticated maybe now that he's getting older. Yeah, affairs it will be for Bill.

Posted by: Peter at November 17, 2004 3:46 PM

And on our dime.

Posted by: Sandy P. at November 17, 2004 3:55 PM

Oh brutal commoner, what makes you think it is your dime ? Let your betters decide those issues.

Posted by: Peter at November 17, 2004 4:07 PM

If Powell was indeed that cozy with Musharraf, then it seems that we had the right SecState at the right time.

For the past two-plus years, good relations with Pakistan have been more important than good relations with India.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 17, 2004 6:27 PM

Thanks to the President we've had both.

Posted by: oj at November 17, 2004 6:36 PM

A diplomatic alignment with India was inevitable with the end of the Cold War. Things just take time as the bureaucrats are too lazy to change.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at November 18, 2004 12:22 AM