With initial euphoria over last week’s U.S.-India talks on the wane, it may be time to take a long, hard look at what New Delhi actually gained from the first official “strategic dialogue” between the two sides.
The timing was just right as Washington implements its AfPak plan, the correct gestures were made and U.S. officials went out of their way to convince the Indian media all was fine between the world’s two biggest democracies.
And while it is true that India-U.S. relations are now at their best, the June 2 talks between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and India’s Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna showed that though the two may have made progress on important but second-tier issues such as trade, agriculture and technology, there remains a disconnect on a strategic level.
Many in India seem worried the talks did not produce the deliverables New Delhi was looking for — even though President Obama has backed India’s $1.2 billion development initiatives in Afghanistan, Washington may not have been able to convince New Delhi it was balancing India’s interest in the war-torn country vital to its security.
Neither was there any talk of pushing Pakistan to go after the men India has persistently blamed for attacks on Indian cities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.