March 29, 2009


India's New-Found Irrelevance: Clearly, the new Administration in Washington has little time for New Delhi. India, however, needs to put its own house in order before crying hoarse over the changing winds in Washington. (Harsh V. Pant, 3/24/09, Outlook)

India is realizing it’s difficult to be out of the limelight after getting used to it. For the last eight years under the Bush Administration, India occupied a pride of place in the strategic calculus of the US. India was wooed as a rising power, it was seen as a pole in the emerging global balance of power, it was acknowledged as the primary actor in South Asia, de-hyphenated from Pakistan, and then it was given what it had long desired -- a de facto status as a nuclear weapon state. From a problem state that could never say yes, India emerged as a state that the US could do business with. It was all too good to last for long. And now one of the architects of the US-India strategic partnership during the Bush period, Shyam Saran, who was the Indian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy during the negotiations over the nuclear pact, is asking India to hedge its bets in light of what he views as Sino-US strategic convergence.

Clearly, the new Administration in Washington has little time for New Delhi. From a nation that was just a few weeks back seen as an emerging power that can provide answers to global problems, India is now viewed primarily as a problem that the Obama Administration needs to sort out. It is instructive that the only context in which Obama has talked of India yet is the need to sort Kashmir out so as to find a way out of the West’s troubles in Afghanistan. Most astonishingly, the Obama Administration has asked India to make the first move towards peace in the region by pulling back troops from its Pakistan border. This is just so that the US can get more Pakistani support when it decides to launch a bigger military offensive in Afghanistan in a few months time. The talk of a strategic partnership between the two democracies, meanwhile, has all but disappeared. The new Administration is so busy fighting day to day battles that it has little time for grand strategy.

...for any lesser significance on your part. Even the Obamanauts will figure things out eventually.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2009 6:29 PM
blog comments powered by Disqus