The following was a comment left on our article outlining an agenda for Hillary Clinton’s visit to India. We have picked it for republication, because it offers an interesting, sharp and thought provoking viewpoint. As is our policy, we typically edit out a few sentences that are personal, but this comment is published as is.
Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari
In the changing world scenario with South and South West Asia having become the centre of gravity, Indo-US relations are a critical factor. For various reasons, the relations have been fluctuating like ECG readings, with the worst between 1963 till about 1980. With India’s emerging economy and clout in Asia and world affairs (a fact now recognized by the United States), it is more for the United States to walk the extra mile.
India knows fully well that US assurances mostly remain on paper. With good speeches and semantics, they wish to appease India. In the past also, the tone and texture of talks by visiting US ‘powers that be’ have changed the moment they left Indian soil. Treasury bonds worth trillions of dollars are with China, and China flexes it’s muscles at will. A recent example is China’s strong reaction to Obama meeting the Dalai Lama. On the other hand, the US global strategic image of pampering Pakistan as a confidante and so called strategic partner over the years now lies totally damaged.
Notwithstanding this, Pakistan,being a terrorist and failed state, will always remain a geographical necessity for the US. The US fully knows that one of the main reasons for the falling US economy is its enormous expenditure in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the impending elections in mind, the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan is a mere token display to appease the feelings of its people.
The US has no option but to retain a sizable force in Afghanistan. The future of Pakistan will continue to be controlled both by the US & China. India provides a great market to the US and it is on this point that India will have to negotiate to keep her National Interests alive. Make no mistake – India will have to steer her own course and NOT depend upon the US for any strategic help as was the case during Indo-Pak War of 1971.
The growing China-Pakistan nexus with thousands of Chinese troops already deployed in the Northern Area and POK ( part of Indian territory)does not auger well. India will have to concentrate in developing her economy because ECONOMY IS POWER. The US can certainly help but the benefits need to be mutual and in perspective.