Mumbai, a reality check for India’s American Dream ?

January 3, 2009

Not long ago India was basking in the glow of a new-found strategic partnership with the United States, one that pitched it as a global player. A breakthrough civilian nuclear deal that virtually  recognised New Delhi as a nuclear weapon state after decades of isolation was the centrepiece of this new relationship.

But the attacks in Mumbai have tested this partnership and some of the lustre is fading. America has been unequivocally telling the Indians to exercise restraint   in responding to the attacks which New Delhi says were orchestrated from Pakistan. (This while U.S. Predator drones
carried out more attacks on the militants in Pakistan’s northwest)

In recent weeks, much to the Indians’ dismay, the mantra of  restraint has now moved to the suggestion from some U.S. analysts that both India and  Pakistan must resolve their dispute over Kashmir to help bring stability to the region. One U.S. editorial suggested India must let go of Kashmir,  thus freeing up Pakistan’s military resources so that it can focus on the war on its western front. And although other analysts are saying the idea – floated long before the Mumbai attacks – is misguided, the American response to the assault on India’s financial capital has left many disappointed.

“India was sold a dream that Washington was determined to  make it a first class world power. The dream lies broken. The carpetbaggers who peddled the dream are nowhere to be seen,” wrote M.K.Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat, in Outlook magazine.

India is back to being hyphenated with Pakistan, something it has long railed against. And talk that the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama may appoint a special envoy  on South Asia has also raised hackles. India bristles at any suggestion of mediation on Kashmir  which it considers a non-negotiable part of the country. After  having fought off such proposals for years, it finds itself back battling them despite warming ties with the United States.

“The question that no one seems keen to answer in Delhi is: Whatever happened to the strategic relationship with the US, the  cornerstone of the government’s foreign policy? Did Delhi forget
to include Kashmir in India’s strategic map?” asked former  newspaper editor and political commentator M. J. Akbar.

Pakistan, perhaps because of its much longer relationship  with the Americans, had been better at dealing with them, argued Bhadrakumar.  He said Islamabad had calculated that U.S. pressure had run its course and that soon attention would turn to the transfer of power to Obama on January 20.

But what of the attacks themselves and making sure they don’t  recur?  Some people in Delhi must be   wondering if the communists were right when they opposed the nuclear deal on the grounds that friendship with America was a kiss of death.

(Reuters photos – the Mumbai waterfront/Arko Datta and Snowfall in Srinagar/Danish Ishmail)


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Lots of false alarms have been raised on this article. Obama’s off-the-cuff remark made out of ignorance has been overhyped and exaggerated.

About Kashmir:
For 50 years US was staunchly allied with Pakistan against a much weaker India on Kashmir. In the year 2009, when both US and Russia are partners with a much stronger India, who is going to force who on Kashmir? No one has any leverage on India.

Both Bill Clinton and the new Secy of State Hillary Clinton are much better acquainted with Kashmir than Obama.

Strobe Talbott who worked with Bill Clinton during Kargil war, describes how no one in the state dept was impressed with Pak shenanigans. lomacy-Democracy-Bomb/dp/0815783000

About India-Pak hyphenation:
That’s the part of the thinking of Pak army/ ISI behind Mumbai terrorist attack. But Pak has become so much notoriously famous as a a basket case for lots of wrong reasons, this hyphenation is of no consequence.

About the nuclear deal:
Dr.Singh, and the bureaucrats in the Indian foreign service, and in the nuclear program are interested only in the economic development of India. Nuclear deal was not part of any “strategic alliance” of any sort. Indian diplomats have done their best to cultivate and nurture good relationship with both the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, and every one. Besides there are strong economic incentives for these countries to be on India’s side.

About the commmunists:
The real enemies against Indian nationhood, India’s progress are not terrorists from Pakistan, but the communists who happened to be resident non-Indians living in India.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

Indians continue to live in denial. As long as pakistan exists India will not be allowed to flourish. Islam has been waging war on Hindustan for a 1000 years. India is the unfinished job of islam.

Posted by Sumit | Report as abusive

im neither communist nor antiamerican.tony blair told americans r tough friends to have but life would be hard without these tough friends…indian communists called a friendship with america is putting ur hand into tigers mouth/kiss of all those wealthy indianamericans,congress,bjp etc must realise where this so called strategic economic partnership is heading.we can see PM manmohan singh destroyed,he is the one who dared to hug unclesam and we can see devastated david mulford who worked very hard for this so called longterm strategic partnership.indians shd wake up frm d dream of great american dream.i blame bollywood(copied frm hollywood) nd proud indian media(owners are either american citizens or live in us).lets face reality,srategic partnershp means business,ind isnt US.pak isnt afghanistan.and americans r not soviets.although vr victims of terrorism,but for now the clear winner is pakistan(factory of terrorists) and probably only country inthe world who knows how to fool/doublegame/scare the worlds superpower,fornow.

Posted by yezdi | Report as abusive

The weak US response is due to the flailing of the last few officials who think Pakistan is not “Talibanistan”.
India can nullify them while pursuing good relations with the US by simply going after its enemies while asserting that it has no other choice. There is no US counter to that. When Obama takes office, India should court him while doing what it wishes. He can’t afford to argue. A US-India alliance against Jihadism is critical, so the trick is for India to take the initiative and set the terms. When Pakistan collapses the US and India will need to act together to capture or neutralize its nuclear weapons.

Posted by Old MSgt | Report as abusive

Kashmir holds a special place in India’s future plans.

An agrarian society will never let go of control over rivers which originate from Kashmir. Also its strategically location makes it indespensable to India.

India had made plans to be a world power much before the end of cold war, cooperation from US may have helped speed up the process but US is not integral for India’s strategy.

No country which loses is self respect and becomes a stooge will ever become a global player. Pakistan might have a longer relationship with US but there is no mutual respect, hence the drones and anti-US sentiments.

In the times to come US and India will work together in areas of mutual benefit but each will have thier own priorities.

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

It is high time not to think of diplomacy which we had been persuing for last 6 decades. We are to act in a controlled manner. We should strike as Israel is doing to Hamas. We have a right to self defence and take care of strategic interest not to be defined by others. Therefore, without fear of nukes attack bt Pak we should act so that before next attempt PAK thinks again. There ay be suicide squads but there are no suicide states.

Posted by Shyam Mohan | Report as abusive


The turn of events have given US a chance to project its image with a Billion plus populance in a positive light. US was not trusted when the cold war was on. Now that the geopolitical realities have taken a shift, its time US also recongnises the shift and interacts with India as it rightly should. Bush did take a step in that direction, hope Barrack appreciates the same and continues.

Realise, you can take the beating only so much till your back is against the wall, then there will be push back. The inflection time has now come for Indians to start pushing back. This can also be seen in the nascent forms of previously unheard of “Hindu Terrorists”. As the time goes by and no tangible results are foreseen, this new form of terrorism are very likely to start on a proactive basis.

US has to take a stand and make its position clear whether its with Pak or India right now. In long run, a person with clear strategy and vision leads.

As far as Kashmir is concerned, its not really Kashmir, but a Jammu and Kashmir (large parts of the land are also in District called Ladhakh – which is primarily Buddhist). Viewing Kashmir in isolation is incorrect and wishing away the solution which needs to be seen in broader light. India can never afford to gift away J&K simply for the reason that the integrety of the entire country would be at stake then.

Posted by Shivaji | Report as abusive

Sanjeev Miglani
—The Americans fit the proverb of “The Delhi ka Ladoo”(Delhi sweet dish) – either eat it & repent or don’t eat it & repent—better eat it & repent…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

I fully endorse the views of Sanjiv Miglani, US has once again dumped us for its vested interests in Afghanistan, in fact no body in US has questioned about the use of 10 billion USD given to Pakistan as aid , whether the aid has been used to fight Taliban? Over dependence on US has exposed failure of our foreign policy , it should be noted that US has never been India’s friend, Indo-US strategic partnership agreement was done to sell nuclear deal to Indians, the nuclear deal will open the floodgate of more than 100 billion USD business for US and other EU companies . Instead of blaming on US, let us introspect, whether as usual our political and ruling elites have let us down once again .

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

US and India can have different opinions and could still be good strategic partner. This is called maturity in relationships.
Both countries have to protect their interest first. US is now protecting its interest in Afghanistan while India was securing its energy needs in Atomic deal. India’s close relationship with Iran still annoys many in Washington but that is not making india give up on its old ally. Sanjeev’s analysis of the situation falls awfully short of maturity.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

ir response to sumit;s ignorant comment about islam. go back and read your history books,islam has been in india for hundreds of years. your biggest symbol (the taj mahal)was built by a muslim king and you have almost 30 million muslims in your country. you are just spewing more garbage of your extremist parties. the type of parties that burned and attacked 2000 muslims in gujrat while your police chief stood there and watched. yet at the time, i did not see indians react in this type of outrage. it was your hindu extremist party that attacked the indian parliment. they foolishly blamed it on the “islamic” terrorist yet it turns out it was your own people who did it. you are playing the israeli role in kashmir by occupying a territory that does not belong to you, you have nothing to do with it and whose people will not bow down to you. no matter how bad things get in pakistan, don’t think the country won’t unite if they are attacked. you have the largest population in the world, do you really think that there won’t enormous caualties if a war takes place?? India is not a superpower. it will never be a superpower and it can’t afford to have the problems of a super power. a super power does not have 2/3s of the world’s poorest population. its better off being a 2nd tier power where its purpose would be more as a stable economic market and serve as a calming voice when the “superpowers” of the world like U.S and EU fail to do their job like in the current case of the gaza geoncide.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Ths US believes there is nothing like friends in international relations, its only the interests. The US will support India as long as there is some genuine interest. As of now, why is US urging restraint to India, because US has a strategic interest vis-a-vis Pakistan and will continue to remain so. Given Pakistan’s strategic importance India should forge long-term strategic relations with Pakistan and resolve the Kashmir dispute because US becomes a mediator.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

If you are USA enemey then you ll will get away with it but if you are their friends then you will not…..thos is what the US diplomat. The rest you can analyse yourslef a perfect example Pakistan always been used by USA and will be till there is a foreign policy just in the intrest of Pakistan.

Again the Indian cowards are crying, grow up you will never be a super power when you got 2/3 of people living in poverty. At least people in Pakistan get fed and feed most of Afghanistan we might be poor but can grow enough to feed everone.

Adam I agree with you totaly India is trying to act like Israel, but does not have the balls. Try a surgical strike on Pakistan as some Indian are saying and we will show you what Pak Nation is made of. Infact you will do us a favour at the moment everyone one is pulling and it will give a us a common enemy. India never wants to see a stable Pakistan and with the help of RAW has always caused enouhg problems for example why do they need to have over dozen counslates on the Afghan/Pakistan boreder surely not to issue visas to Talibal lol.

You can fool the world but not Pakistanis we knwo you Indians too well. The best liars in the world..Kashmir has never been part of Indian and will never bee you can try all your puppet regimes there.

Pakistan Zinabad…………AZADI for KASHMIR!!!

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Sumit….Personaly I think you deserve a blur peter badge for being the most illogical and the stupidest person on this blogg. With a mindset of a bajrang bali and Hindi Terrorist.

Firstly Muslims ruled India and as Adam points out most of the archeteure is Islamic e.g the beatiful Taj Mahal and so many other historical buildings. If Muslims wanted to convert you all Hindus I dont think it would have been impossible all they had to do is put a BIG SWORD up your dads arse and ask him before you know he would been kneeling on the floor as he does on in the temple lol.

But Islam is not to be imposed if you wish follow it and if not then go to hell as you will eventualy. But no muslim ruler forced you to become Muslim infact Islam was spread via sufism and no wonder in many places even hindus go to Muslim shriens and vise versa. I feel uneducated fools like you spread the message of hatered and you will never suceed.

Bottom line is give Kashmiris their rights and hands off Indian n Pakistan and live like neighboyrs both countries intrest is in that or else just like Pkaistan has been used so will India be used to enhance Washingtons intrest thanks…

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

The communists are anti-nationals and have always been so. They supported China in the 1962 war — if you donb’t believe it, check the web for news from 1962. we should get rid of communists as soon as possible.

But the most anti-national are our corrupt politicians who take money from Dawood and other terrorists, who have emasculated and destroyed Indian intelligence agencies and Indian security forces.

Until India is strong internally, we cannot expect the US to fight our battles for us. If we set our internal weaknesses right, make ourselves strong, the whole world will support us.

Posted by anil cimani | Report as abusive

India Wake up, see the enemy Pakistan as it is a poor coward and do not Trust anyone with their own objectives i.e. US, EU etc. Be Smart and learn to protect oneself and move ahead. Pakistan is a weakling nation which does not know how to justify its existence its only objective after being beaten in 3 wars & Kargil by India is hatred for India. They envy the achievements of India as a growing economy, stable political framework and country with a future as they have only had dictatorships and basically no future.
The Pakistanis think that the Indian Muslims are their people but i think that is false and i know for sure that they are part of India and will fight for preserving their country and live with the freedoms they are used to. As a country we can defend ourselves in any manner we please including pursuit and strategic targeting as the americans are doing on pakistan soil. The proxy war business by the pakis we should give them a fitting reply and it does not matter if it means some sacrifice is necessary. Stop their water and stop their free entry into the country, use technology whatever it takes to make it difficult to carry on attacking us.
The responsibility to do that is on us collectively and individually. All I ask is use your economic clout, global networks, co-workers, business contacts etc do all things to put pressure on the politicians demand action and hold them accountable for it.

Jai Hind.

Posted by pankaj damle | Report as abusive

To Adam , I agree Sumits comments have been ignorant and stupid. Muslims have been an integral part India and will always be. Saying that India has always had religious tensions between the Hindus and the Muslims. What Happened in Gujarat is not something what Indians are proud of and condemn it equally. But saying Kashmir is not a part of India is Rubbish. It was ruled by a Hindu king before partition who made a choice to side with India period!!!!. By Pakistan claiming Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan because majority of the population is Muslim is crap. We probably have more Muslims living in India than in Pakistan.

Secondly regarding the superpower comment, India is not a super power “YET” but has the potential to be one. Yes we have poor people in India and we are working very hard to eradicate poverty. And by the way India is not the poorest in the world. From where I am seeing it US and EU are on the way down and India and China are on the way up. Like it or not. India and Indians are not too worried about the “SUPERPOWER” status because it doesnot make any difference to us as we are a hardworking and intelligent bunch and I am sure in the years to come the world will recognise the same. By the way look at the US ,Indians have contributed immensely and there is no way Indians can not do that in India.

Posted by Sandeep | Report as abusive

You really need to grow up.
How does your madarssa taught (and incorrect) history furthering the topic under discussion?
And slogans DO NOT replace logical points in a civilized debate.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

++++We have a right to self defence and take care of without fear of nukes attack bt Pak we should act so that before next attempt PAK thinks again. There ay be suicide squads but there are no suicide states.

– Posted by Shyam Mohan ++++

I have posted this before. “Pakistan”‘s nuclear bluff will be exposed soon if it persists with sponsoring terrorism in India. It will be punished for Mumbai. India wants peace and wants to be focussed on economic development. But then we have “Pakistan” as our neighbhour.

Besides dropping bombs and open war may not be the best way to defeat Pakistan. It is facing its own slow death, because it is full of ppl like hate mongers like Ali.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

The logic is clear. India is not as valuable to US as is Pakistan. So India should better not be expecting any extraordinary support from their side. I was just wondering are we doing right in distancing ourselves from the Russians. They may not be so influential in current International scenario but they are time tested, all season friends of India. Time for may be a rethink.

Posted by Aaruni Upadhyay | Report as abusive

Cool down folks. Everyone wants war in a military sense but in these days, that’s not the answer to everything.
Today’s “war” is more economic in nature.
If Pak is not controlling the terrorism on its territory,
India needs to think strategically.
Pak is already circling the drain economically and India should make sure that Pak trade suffers till they come to their senses.
Pak is getting abandoned, even by their own people. The Pak elites send their children abroad the first chance they get. The US will use the territory as target practice. The “jihad” monster is eating Pak from within and its just a matter of time before they pull the state down. I hope the Pak govt realizes that they are cutting off their nose to spite their neighbour’s face.

Posted by Andy Rebeiro | Report as abusive

India think we should leave Pakistan alone. India’s American dream can be fulfilled by sponsoring a couple of 100 drone attacks within Pakistan using US forces.

Keeps everyone happy.

Pakistan dare not fight the US. India does not loose any soldiers. US fulfills its mission on the global war in Pakistan. Maybe a couple of drone strikes in Lahore and Karachi would not hurt.

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive

Everyone asks India why they cant ‘do a Gaza’ on my country,Pakistan.

Well folks,the answer simply is that India CANT!!Because Pakistani nukes lie in wait for any Hindu nationalists who dare cast an evil eye on Pakistan?I firmly advocate that if PAKISTAN is attacked,we should send our nukes to Mumbai,Delhi & Bangalore.Decapitate India’s head & then watch how it responds

Posted by Qasim Awan | Report as abusive

India can not be a super power as long as it depends on (ad love) imports for majority of modern weapons. Look at Indian Army, it is more happy with T90 than Arjun. US M1A1 went through several developement steps while using to reach present level. Similarly Indian Army must use Indian Battle Tanks and let it evolve further. India imports her artillary (Guns and ammunition), imports her small arms and bullets. India imports most of Airforce needs (aircraft, missiles, guided munitions etc.,). Indian Engineers and Technologists are proving themselves as some of the best in the world while working abroad, they do not enjoy the same confidence with Indian defence forces and their Government. As for as protecting the nation, it can not even respond when it’s citizens are murdered on its soil without looking abroad for permission to respond. This can never happen in China or USA.
India should learn to try its own shoelaces, not to look abroad for permission to do so, orelse she is going to tip and fall.
Pakistan challanges India, Bangladesh bullies India, Ceylone unhappy with India.
The above has nothing new, somthing every Indian knows. It is an attemt to wake them up and let them tell their Government and their Armed Forces how they feel. In a democracy they have a right to do so, or bring the government down. If I offended any one’s ego it is not intentional.
Thank you for the opportunity to express my views.
Syam Kumar Thakkilapati

Posted by Syam | Report as abusive

Here we go again all idiots barking like a stray dog lol.

Calm down and take a reality chill pill khatris. I have said India is NOT America and will NEVER be so STOP acting like morons for the sake of people who are dead.

If you could ask the inncent people killed in Bombay, Karachi, Kashmir or anywhere else due to terrorist related incident. They would say what the point of revenge and violenec becuaes violence only briongs more violence.

A sensible approach would have been to work with the civilian government of Pakistan to get to the bottom of who was involved. So they can tried in the Pakistani courts but instead India thought a perfect time to use this excuse to anhance its agenda it has NOT worked and will NEVER.

By the way GOODLUCK with Pakistan handing over anyone thats only if they ever get proven guilty! lol

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

I would rather not comment anything just only that ariticle title depicts the true image of india- a country which can’t even dream for itself — it is american dream lol…it really says that india l i c k s american _sh-it_ to prove its existence.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Nuclear Energy Deal- President Bush tirelessly campaigned both in and outside US to deliver the gift he promised. He felt shocked and guilty to see a nation like India not to have nuclear energy. Thankfully the bipartisan senators strengthened his hands. The historic act came dangerously close to being pushed under carpet, thanks to communists. Try to understand what PM Singh said, ‘just let’s get the IAEA and NSG clearance first, then we can play the game on our terms’. An American handshake is a golden handshake indeed just in case you are trying to take communists too seriously. Their masters are in china. US can make profit by selling Boeings and war ships rather than nuclear technology.
Pak Terrorism- the internal rife will proliferate for a longtime. Their religious ignorance and poverty collectively lead to slow death. Zardaris, Shariffs who actually lived in other richer nations during their forced exile know the real reasons for the pathetic state of their country. Its not the US, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism , shias, Ahmadias, its them the Pakistanis that are responsible for the state of affairs. Denial and Blame (others) are overt expressions of a clueless population. India, through war, should not step into the mud. Indian muslims are as Indians as are the others. A small number of misguided individuals are terrorists /murderers than muslims, even if they call themselves Islamic. Its perfectly justified of Indian muslims to refuse a burial place for the 26/11Mumbai evils.

Posted by Azad DP | Report as abusive

To read more about the developments in Pakistan and the region in general go to

Posted by Sikander Hayat | Report as abusive