Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

India, U.S. build ties, with an eye on China

November 9, 2010


In the end, Pakistan wasn’t the unspoken elephant in the room when U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for talks with Indian leaders. Far from tip-toeing around India’s Pakistan problem which complicates America’s own troubled war there and in Afghanistan, Obama spoke clearly and squarely.

Safe havens for militants in Pakistan wouldn’t be tolerated, he said, in what was music to Indian ears. But he also left nobody in doubt Washington wanted India to improve ties with Pakistan, saying New Delhi had the greatest stake in the troubled neighbour’s stability.

But the one elephant that the leaders of India and the United States didn’t name but which was written all over the flurry of announcements made during the three-day trip was China. Beginning with the headline-grabbing endorsement of India’s bid for a permanent place on the U.N. Security Council to maritime cooperation and a surprise partnership to promote food security in Africa, the United States seems to have gone the extra mile to bolster New Delhi’s credentials as a global player.

The one country that would be watching this most closely is China where some would see America’s deepening ties with India, a continent-size country with a billion-plus people, as aimed at countering its rise.

B.Raman, a  former head of India’s Research and Analysis wing, writes that the announcement by India and the United States  to work together for stability in the Indian Ocean region as well as the Pacific  will draw concern in Beijing, which has its own fears of U.S. encirclement.

“Thus, the partnership will seek to promote peace and security across Asia in general and in East and Central Asia in particular, strengthen maritime security and work for a peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. Though China has not been named, Beijing will have reasons to be concerned over the implications of this formulation.”

Beijing has long seen India on its southern flank as at best a middling South Asian player tied down with internal problems and  dificult ties with neighbours such as Pakistan and certainly not any role beyond the region, much less the Pacific.   And yet the United States and India have been steadily pushing the envelop. Not only does the United States hold more military exercises with India than with any other country, these wargames have expanded in reach. In September-October, four personnel  from the Indian army, navy and air force trained with the U.S.’s 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit at the latter’s base in Okinawa in the East China Sea.  A few years ago the idea of  the Indian army training with the Marines would have been unthinkable,  much less the sight of Indian uniformed personnel in  Okinawa.  As former U.S. ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer writes, the most dramatic change in India-US ties has been the creation of a security relationship. Ten years ago, it didn’t exist. Today the two countries have found common strategic interests in the Indian Ocean., she says. And this now extends all the way to East Asia.

Until recently, the United States saw India in a different pigeonhole from East Asia, but that’s changed in the past year. US officials have made a point of describing India “in an Asian context,” as one of the major fixtures of the larger Asian landscape.

Likewise, the idea of joint India-US projects in Africa  that the two sides announced during Obama’s trip will raise an eyebrow in China  which has  sought to build close ties with the continent.

Indeed, there seemed to be such meeting of minds that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heartily endorsed the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to inject cash into the banking system to bolster the economy, a move that has drawn criticism from several countries, especially China which worries that it will weaken the dollar and hurt their exports.

So far China whose prime minister is due in India next month has held its counsel. Unlike Pakistan which criticised Obama’s endorsement of the Security Council seat, China offered a more  measured response.  It said it understood India’s desire to win a place on the top U.N. body. It said it  supported reform of the Security Council and was willing to engage in dialogue with India as well as other countries on the whole issue of  its expansion.


A very good article!!
Anyone with a common sense and certain knowledge of the American neoliberal Think Tank, had already spelled out during George W’s time that the USA invasion of Afghanistan was simply a ploy to militarily enter into a territory bordering the invincible China. The clintonian advisers of Mr Obama simply extended the field into Pakistan, for a base in Afghanistan also carries a logistic nightmare.

In the meantime, China is heading towards becoming the Super Power, second to none, when one observes the decline of the USA, faster than many still hesitate to recognise.

Mr Obama visit sent two very strong messages;

. To india, the host and the candidate partner for peaceally, you have more to gain from Pakistan stability and therefore improve your relations with Pakistan!
. To Pakistan,its Partner in war, you have more to gain strategicly if the Kashmir suppression by India lingers on!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

China a super power is most ridiculous thought one can think of. How can a country be super power without treating its citizens as humans. Niether India nor China and certainly not Pakistan can be super powers ever. Second and MOST important ingredient needed for a super power status is INNOVATION and INVENTION. In medievial periods it was Italy, Germany, France, or Europe in general and then in 20th century it was US and now its no one. I don’t agree that military power can make a country as super power. It is the spirit of invention and innovation that is needed. And that is more absent in China framework than in India framework. Therefore it is a time waste on Indian administration’s part to believe China can engulf or swallow India. Ain’t happening!!

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

I had the opportunity of going through the article and also the Comments of my commenter friends amidst my busy schedule of work.

I like coming back to the Reuters global Journal News as it covers news of highly importance of the world giving opportunity to commenter to come up with ideas and analytical views and suggestion on the topic.

To help concerned to consider valuable points mentioned in their comments for future use and train up analysts.

I found that commenter are mainly engaged in trying to attack one another with their relative past and present relationship.

Well, it is welcome but the important strategy that warranted the President of the lone super power to visit India was missing in my commenter friend’s comments.

It is to be understood and remembered that the President of such important country do not visit for only friendship, signing commercial treaties, and to say hello. For such function he/she have enough subordinates to do that for him nor did he come to announce support for seat in the Security Council for India.

However, I found Rex Minor raised very good intelligent analytical points on the President Obama’s crucial visit to India.

The war of Afghanistan is very important for the west not only to eliminate terrorists but also to establish block both China and Russia coming down to the warm water of the Arabian Sea. Its European allies and WE will not be able to meet the down ward thrust of the Asian two major super powers with their friends in the area.

The same is in the east china’s downward thrust with the help of Burma will be extremely difficult for India to block with the states running movements of secession. In addition, may so happen that China will touch the sea of Bay of Bengal. Then Finally about the North of India (TIBET). It does not need any elaboration.

It was under this circumstance to block china to the north US entered into a defense deal with India. With regard to Pakistan, I would not encroach into the Diplomatic Erna of US, Pakistan and China.

Now, coming to Indonesia visit, it is because of the same reason and we know that Indonesia has a strong naval force with some more addition will be worth mentionable very strong naval force in the area. I would skip over both Korea and go to Japan. Japan has problem of island with Russia that will unite Russia and china.

I believed that in day’s ahead Asian countries would experience various defense strategic changes centering India. By analyzing the up, coming situation stated above President Obama’s statement to India regarding Pakistan is 200% correct.

Posted by KINGFISHER | Report as abusive

Well said.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

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