Sunday, November 7, 2010

India Wants Respect From the United States

The Hindustan Times has published India’s want list with the United States, hoping to reach some sort of accommodation on some of the items while President Obama is on an official state visit. The list is very high-level, but gives a good idea what India wants: an equatable partnership.

First, India wants the United States to unequivocally back India's demand for a permanent seat on the United Nation Security Council. This is the United States' position as well and will lend its support when the time comes, but cannot do so with the approval of other permanent members. Naturally, China will prove a hindrance. India realizes this, of course, but seems more keen on United States support in the short-term.

Second, India's demand for a role in Afghanistan is rife with issues. The first one, of course, is Pakistan. Much as I've criticized Pakistan in its imperialistic role in Afghanistan, past and present, I see no way around the fact that Pakistan must be intimately involved in creating and keeping the peace in Afghanistan. And naturally, India's role in Afghanistan will only rile Pakistan who has accused India of using Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan. This may be a no go depending on how big a role India wants in Afghanistan.

Third. Given that President Obama kicked-off his visit by speaking at the Taj Hotel, where the bloody Mumbai attacks occurred, is the most highly visible signal that the United States not only agrees that terrorism is a problem in the region, but is willing to join hands with India to fight it. I strongly believe there will be a deeper cooperation in jointly fighting terrorism.

And fourth, the United States and India are on the same page, for the most part, in the need to contain China's increasing hegemonic designs in the region. India's "look East" policy, combined with United States "look West" policy will enhance collective security in the region. .

All in all, it will be fruitful trip for both countries. Relations between the two countries will only deepen, in my opinion