The so called US-India Strategic relationship is a dud. America has proven that it has not given up its bad old ways of seeking to maintain a balance of power between democratic India and fundamentalist Pakistan.
Jaffna and Cynical Nerd of The Indian National Interest have written an incisive analysis on the US-India Nuclear co-operation Act. They have given a point by point account of how the US Congress is trying to secure the American strategic objectives in South Asia rather than the expressed desire of Civil Nuclear Co-operation based on “reciprocity” between the United States and India.
When this agreement was signed last year on July 18th, 2005 there was a feeling in India that the bad old days were over and America had changed its attitude towards India. The nay-sayers then were dismissed out of hand. But now it looks like the US has not abandoned its 60 year old policy of maintaining “parity” between democratic India and a Military ruled and increasingly fundamentalist Pakistan.
In another piece Cynical Nerd has analysed the sale of sophisticated and lethal arms to Pakistan by the US.Inspite of knowing very well that such arms will only be used against their “new strategic ally” India and will only bolster the confidence of the Pakistani establishment to indulge in more mischief against India; the US has gone ahead with this deal.
Another interesting part was the discussion we had in that thread with two Americans Dan and Lexington. Though they were not in favour of the sale of sophisticated Arms to Pakistan by the US government they tried to explain their Point of View.
Lex tried to make the case that India needs to ramp up its lobbying presence in Washington so as to secure its own interests and gave the example of Israel’s lobbying successes. I beg to differ with him. India can never equal the lobbying power of Israel, the National Rifle Association or the Tobacco lobby. We simply do not have that kind of money and frankly i think it is of no use to even attempt that. This is something that America itself has to come to terms with on its own. A strategic alliance with India is definitely in the National interests of the US too.
Dan tried to focus attention on the cold war history. He pointed out that India was on the wrong side during the cold war and America was only hedging its bets by playing both sides and watching and then decide later on about which side they should be on.
I pointed out to him that America does not have the luxury of playing on both sides of the Tennis court. If it does so it will lose the respect of both sides and that will only be a lose-lose situation for them. I also pointed to him that the Indian left is Anti-American and there is nothing the US can do about that. But the Indian right is not anti-american and is very much in favour of a strategic relationship. If the US shows this kind of attitude the Indian right too would turn against them and America will be left with no friends in India.
The reality is that beyond NATO, the US considers only Israel and Japan as steadfast allies. The rest are all only allies of convenience. We need to realise that. No amount of kowtowing or lobbying will get us any kind of influence in the US. We need to do on our own what is needed to safeguard our National Strategic Interests. We need to seek out allies and partners and maintain nothing but a business like relationship with the Americans.
The Nuclear deal should be thus called off immediately. There is no more point in pursuing it if at the end of the day we only end up having to kowtow to the US and the US shows absolutely no regard to Indian sensitivities. The so-called “Strategic relationship” between India and the US cannot be realised till the US changes its own attitude towards India and abandons its ancient policy of maintaining parity between fundamentalist, non-democratic Pakistan and Free, democratic India.