United States of America has been desperately wanting to make amends with the non-aligned Republic of India since George W Bush and Condoleeza Rice wanted to balance India with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a decade after India re-opened itself to the rest of the world when the Cold War had ended, in a reversal of the Clinton-freeze after India’s nuclear testing had caught the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) flat-footed to Bill Clinton’s red-faced chagrin.
The recent visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, her second, follows the summit of the four emerged economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) – in New Delhi in March.
India has come a long way in the last two decades, hoisting itself into the top 5 economies of the world by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), and in near-perfect trade balance with the United States, unlike China, by specializing in services and being self-sufficient in agriculture while its neighbor to the north had focused on low-end manufacturing exports and infrastructure.
Keeping a nuclear arsenal has never been a game to India’s liking. After all, India had pioneered the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the United Nations since the beginning of the arms race in the 1950s. In this India agrees with Iran albeit to the rankling of the United States. Iranian oil and gas for India is secondary.
Withdrawing forces from Afghanistan in the period 2012-2014, after a decade-long war on Taliban and Al Qaeda since 2001, United States and Europe, notwithstanding their errors in combat, look to China, India, Pakistan and the more experienced Russia to play their part in stabilizing Central and South Asia, rather than, as India also prefers, expend scarce budgetary resources on military buildups and localized arms races between China, India and Pakistan, in full awareness of the United States that trade between China and India and between India and Pakistan has been growing to support this sentiment despite the November 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai by Pakistani extremists.
America does not need to become an honest broker between India and Bangladesh, a country India had helped liberate in 1971. India’s diplomatic relationships with Pakistan in the west and Bangladesh in the east, a geography which had been partitioned twice in the history of the subcontinent, are India’s bilateral arrangements unwise for internationalization, especially given the remaining geopolitical entanglements of the United States.