Home Contact Us
Search :
   

US & South Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#1213, 12 November 2003
 
Recent Trends in Indo-US Relations
Report of the seminar held on 10 November 2003
N Manoharan, Research Officer, IPCS
 

Chair:

P. R. Chari

Speaker:

Stephen Cohen

 

            In a crisp presentation, Prof Cohen critically looked into recent developments in Indo-US relations over recent decades. According to him India and the United States have moved closer than before; there are absence of strategic rivalries and bilateral relations on various aspects have remarkably improved. A new element of personal ties has come into place in the belief that “there are no permanent interests, but only permanent friends.” US perceive India as an emerging soft power; it is easier to talk to and deal with; there is no threat from it and there is no competition between the two countries. Both are sustained pluralist democracies and they could help order and stability in Asia.

 

At the same time China and Pakistan continue to intrude into Indo-US relations. China is important to the US; and this importance has increased because of North Korea. Bush continues Clinton’s rapprochement policy of US vis-à-vis China. US did not have a specific Pakistan policy till recently, but 9/11 changed it all. Though Bush has his reservations on Musharraf, there is no alternative. US assistance to Pakistan is not military related, but development-oriented.

 

Closer economic interdependence between India and the United States is desirable. The FDI from the US has increased; business outsourcing from India has also improved despite its adverse impact on unemployment in the US. Given the fact of electoral influence of Indian Americans in several states, the reach of US political leadership towards India is not surprising.

 

Discussion

 

The interactive session after the lecture elicited the following points

 

Comments

 

  • India-US relations have entered a qualitatively different phase especially in military cooperation. There are more joint exercises now and many more visits by senior defence decision makers. At the same time there is slow progress in areas like technology transfer. US military’s close association with Pakistan military is a cause for concern in India.

 

  • India was disappointed with the US ‘war against terrorism’. There is a strong feeling in India that Washington has failed to prevail on Islamabad on cross border terrorism against India. Indians feel that US gives too much primacy to its own interests.

 

  • The reason for China-US cordiality is not entirely due to the possibility of China acting as a facilitator between Washington and Pyongyang. China has no leverage with North Korea and the former is not in any kind of negotiations. The real reason is the growing economic and trade ties between the two countries.

 

  • The use of force by the US outside the UN Charter is at odds with the long-term interests of other powers. It also impinges on the India-US relations as this raises possibilities of such US intervention elsewhere.

 

  • United States should reflect more seriously on Iran. It will be a big mistake if it freezes its relations with Teheran. There are chances of improvement in Indo-US relations in case of improvement in US-Iran relations for various reasons.

 

Questions and Responses

 

Q What are possible options other than war in Iraq? There is a school of opinion in the US for greater involvement in Kashmir. What more could be done when almost all possible solutions have been tried?

R War in Iraq is totally different from ‘war on terrorism’. There is emerging a new debate now in the US on the “imposition of democracy”. There is no possibility of absolute democracy in the near future in Iraq. At the same time there is also no possibility of a dictatorship on the Sadam model. As far Kashmir is concerned it can be managed better. A possible American role could be in this direction. There is no question of mediation and not even facilitation. What we need is a forward looking policy.

 

Q Domestic politics in America is vital in looking at its foreign policy. After 9/11 neo-conservatives have gained ascendancy and its views have gained wider support. Do you see this trend continuing for sometime?

R I can see this trend to continue indefinitely as long as the international environment such as the current one continues. There is a public support for this.

 

Q India and Pakistan seem unable to come together to arrive at a settlement over Jammu & Kashmir. What overt and covert steps could America take towards this?

R Various options are available. Firstly, all kinds of confidence building measures could be tried out. Secondly, it is better not to propose a particular kind of solution to Kashmir. And thirdly, slow dialogue, accommodation and inclusion of economic diplomacy would work fruitfully.

 

Q What is your opinion on US-Pakistan military nexus in the light of India-US relations?

R The military will continue to govern Pakistan and will not let anyone govern the country at least for sometime. The military believes that it is the sole defender of the country and does not trust politicians. Washington does not support military rule, but at the same time democracy is not in sight. We understand this ground reality.

 

Q The situation in Afghanistan has not yet stabilised. Do you see any room for cooperation between India and US in this regard?

R Bringing stability in Afghanistan is a long-term investment. The US has tried to maintain balance by inviting everybody, including India, in developing the war torn country. But Pakistan thinks that Afghanistan is its natural territory of influence. Unless this thinking goes there is a problem in any kind of smooth and sustained involvement of India in Afghanistan.

 

Q What is the end state of India-US defence cooperation?

R The end state of India-US defence cooperation is one without mutual suspicion. Such a state is a few years away. Now Pentagon is a major protagonist of such cooperation. The focus however should be on technology and economic aspects of defence rather than joint exercises and exchange of visits.

 

Q There is a mention of dialogue between democracies. How viable is it?

R There is asymmetry in relations between India and the United States. However, if India changes its economic policy it could gradually get away with the asymmetry. India is also culturally strong and Indian Americans are influential.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary

D Suba Chandran
Across the Durand Line: Who is in Control Now? Will That Change?
Taliban Talks and the Four Horsemen: Between Peace and Apocalypse
Pakistan: Talks about Talks with the Taliban, Again
Dateline Islamabad

Salma Malik
Pakistan and TTP: Dialogue or Military Action?
The Musharraf Trial & Beyond

Dateline Kabul

Mariam Safi
Afghanistan, US and the Peace Process: A Deal with the Taliban in 2014?
Dhaka Discourse

Prof Delwar Hossain
Bangladesh: Domestic Politics and External Actors
Bangladesh Post Elections 2014: Redefining Domestic Politics?

Eagle Eye

Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?
Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow
East Asia Compass

Dr Sandip Mishra
North Korean Peace Gestures and Inter-Korea Relations
Japan: Implications of Indiscriminate Assertiveness
China, Japan, Korea and the US: Region at Crossroads

Himalayan Frontier

Pramod Jaiswal
Chinese Inroads to Nepal
Constituent Assembly-II: Rifts Emerging
Nepal: The Crisis over Proportional Representation and the RPP Divide
Maritime Matters

Vijay Sakhuja
Increasing Maritime Competition: IORA, IONS, Milan and the Indian Ocean Networks
China in the Indian Ocean: Deep Sea Forays
Iran Navy: Developing Long Sea Legs

Middle Kingdom

DS Rajan
China in the Indian Ocean: Competing Priorities
China-Japan Friction: How can India Respond?
Nuke Street

Amb Sheelkant Sharma
Nuclear Security Summit 2014 and the NTI Index
Nuclear Power: An Annual Report Card

Red Affairs

Bibhu Prasad
Maoists in the Northeast: Reality and Myth-Making
Surrender of Gudsa Usendi: Ominous beginning for the Naxals?
South Asian Dialectic

PR Chari
Federalism: Centre as Coordinator and Adjudicator
Limits of Federalism

Spotlight West Asia

Amb Ranjit Gupta
Saudi Arabia-US Estrangement: Implications for the Indian Subcontinent
Syria Today: Is Regime Change the Answer?
The Arab World: Trying Times Ahead
Strategic Space

Manpreet Sethi
US, China and the South Asian Nuclear Construct
Responding to Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: A Strategy for India

The Strategist

Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Strategic Non-Nuclear Weapons: An Essential Consort to a Doctrine of No First Use
 

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

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July
 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 | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com