Home Contact Us  

India & the World - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4254, 13 January 2014

Eagle Eye

Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow
Chintamani Mahapatra
Professor, School of International Studies, JNU

The Devyani Khobragade episode that took place in the backdrop of a strong strategic cooperation between the two countries has terribly hurt the Indian government and the people alike. The diplomatic discord between India and the US over the indictment, arrest, strip and cavity search of the Deputy Consul General of Indian Consulate in New York has cast a long shadow over the bourgeoning strategic partnership between the two countries. 

Both New Delhi and Washington officials in charge of their diplomatic affairs swore by the need to preserve and promote strategic cooperation and not allow any single incident to adversely affect the relationship in the midst of the diplomatic row. However, such pledges only exemplify the fear that this episode has cast a long shadow and will take a slow and long process to finally be erased. Promoters and stakeholders in the Indo-US friendship question as to why such an incident took place at all and why it took so long to partially resolve the issue and that too in a distasteful manner. Khobragade was asked to leave the US and not return unless to face the charges in the American court. Wayne May, a US diplomat accused of colluding in the clandestine evacuation of Indian citizens (family members of Sangeeta Richard, the alleged victim in the case) was asked to leave the country by the Indian government within forty-eight hours. The Indian external affairs ministry felt that the US could have avoided this ‘mini crisis’, and the US State Department regretted that Wayne May was asked to leave the country by India.
While the two governments have expressed the desire to get back to business, it is doubtful if it is going to be business as usual. Certain wounds do not heal well and keep resurfacing periodically to prevent the robust growth of mutual trust even after considerable investment of political and diplomatic capital. How long did it take for India to manage its psychological hurt over Washington dispatching the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal during the 1971 War? It was not until President George Bush signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India that the Indian strategic community could address the issue of US nuclear threat to India. Indians have also not forgotten the Bhopal Gas tragedy that directly shaped the debate in the Indian parliament over the nuclear liability bill. 

The issues of American disregard for India’s sovereignty (as reflected in the clandestine evacuation of Richard’s family members), American disrespect for the Indian judicial system (as indicated by overlooking the Delhi High Court’s injunction against Sangeeta Richard), the US State Department’s unwillingness to share information about the impending arrest of Khobragade with the visiting foreign secretary of India, all raise questions of mutual distrust, and the ending of one phase of the diplomatic discord by expelling each other’s foreign service officers will almost certainly haunt future diplomatic interactions.
Early indications of the impact of this episode can be found in the postponement of visits to India by the new Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. These two officials were, of course, aware that a visiting Congressional delegation could not meet the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, and other senior officials in India.
Practitioners of diplomacy will no doubt avoid looking at history and instead seek to move ahead with the relationship. Both the State Department and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs may try hard to put in place a series of ‘damage limitation’ exercises and new initiatives may be launched to prove that the ‘strategic partnership’ is alive and kicking.
But none of these efforts will take off the ground until an agreeable solution to the Khobragade episode is found. In addition, the current diplomatic spat is only the latest in a series of developments that signal numerous glitches in the Indo-US strategic partnership. Bilateral differences over climate and trade issues; American disappointment over the slow pace of implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, Indian displeasure over the pending Immigration Bill in the US Congress, American frustration over the slow pace of Indian economic reforms, particularly foreign investment in the retail sector and Indian discontent over the Obama administration’s over-emphasis on curtailing outsourcing are some examples.
However, the real challenge of diplomacy is removing hurdles and facilitating cooperation for mutual prosperity and national security. Besides, the regional security challenges in the wake of the US decision to end military operations in Afghanistan and the Chinese decision to open a new chapter in their concept of ‘peaceful rise’ and adopt a muscular approach to territorial and maritime disputes should alert New Delhi and Washington not to miss the broader picture, while resolving bilateral differences!

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Testing the Trump-Modi Partnership

India-US: Convergences and Divergences

100 Days in Office: The Trump Administration

Forecast 2017: India-US Strategic Partnership

Paradigm Shift or Business As Usual: Trump’s China Policy

American Turbulence: Global Ramifications

Trump's Nuclear Policy: Global Implications

Critical Challenges to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership

India and the US: Inching Towards an Informal Alliance

Need the World Worry over Trump's Foreign Policy?

US: “Losing Respect” Abroad

Implications of Modi’s US Visit

Forecast 2016: Difficult Days Ahead for Washington

India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet

Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?

Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response

Obama Administration: Re-engaging India

US in South Asia: Declining Influence

US Foreign Policy: Rehashing Old Stances

US’ Frantic Effort to Make the Rebalancing Strategy Work

US, Ukraine and the End of Unipolarity

US-China Cold Confrontation: New Paradigm of Asian Security

US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?

Pakistan’s Role in War against Terrorism: Costs and Benefits

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.