The Indo – US Strategic Dialogue: How it’s been so far…

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The History of mankind is often replete with the circles of rise and fall of great empires, Kingdoms and more recently of unions and nations. The famous historians of past have always mentioned the splendor and greatness of civilizations of their ages, often making these civilizations “The Cultures” of that age.

The Modern world is characterized by presence of super powers and military regimes, ideological nations each having their own brand of economic and social cultures showcasing them at what ever front and stage available. It is in such a list that the US and India maintain their own presence and have been ever more eager to make their ties deeper through various initiatives and reciprocated gestures after a couple of decades of mistrust and outright hatred

The US and India both understand in their own best interests that it is but natural to help out each other to make sure the survival and continuance of their positions as major powers at the global stage .The asymmetrical rise of China and the growing complexities of global terrorisms and allied issues of which both India and US happen to be direct victims, have made it absolutely important the we both help out each other and make sure the two great democracies understand each other’s needs and problems.

The 60’s and 70’s under the influence of the chilly winds of the “cold war” made it a de’facto Rule in the white house and 7 RCR to not see eye to eye, events like the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War , the signing of a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union in August 1971 among many others have all usually made our foreign relations history a “chequered “ history.

The fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s and the ensuing economic liberalization (a rather rude shock to the rulers of India that a closed and a not so entrepreneuring nation was a recipe to economic disaster) made the cold vibes and hard looks whittle away as a symbiotic relation was to grow and replace the o’l order .

The road to smiling photo op’s was not a rosy one by any means , issues such as presence and development of Nuclear weapons, friendly relations with Soviet union, difficult Military relations and a never ending conflict with Pakistan always ensured the infant relation had a bumpy ride whenever possible.

As former President APJ Abdul Kalam had once said famously “In this world, only strength respects strength, fear has no place”, The modern world where only the silence of fear backed by a stoic presence of undeniable and unquestionable strength of nuclear weapons is respected, India was, is and will be hell bent on preserving its status as a nuclear power .

The staunch and often discouraging response, view US had on this in the past was detrimental to the relation between the two nations. Such a strong commitment by India to the strength and security of its union has also been a bone of contention with its neighbours and when these neighbors happen to be allies of US it is bound to raise the hackles of political discomfort in any kind of relation with the US.

The strong support and backing our “good” neighbour Pakistan receives from US has and will always be a issue of soreness to the eye’s of any Indian, more so when Pakistan can blindly and naively ask and demand leverages in various other areas of direct conflict, be it a particular water treaty between it and India, The Kashmir issue, military aid, economic aid and a political and diplomatic on the global stage.

The economic liberalization that was unleashed in the mid 90’s brought in a slew of US investments and improved economic ties with US as business relations flowered and blossomed thanks to a entrepreneuring nation, which eager to grow was busy lapping up any opportunity that was available. It is this growth and deepening confidence in economic ties that have actually been the catalyst in changing the nature of Indo –US relations.

As is natural with any nation the ambitions and aspirations of a rising power have to be accommodated and respected but the current global diplomatic situation and presence of multiple centers of powers, and too many squabbling powers all vying for the same spot have made it all the more necessary that a major global power such as US back and vociferously second India’s nomination and presence at various global forums.

The Positive feedback and enthusiastic rapport that the leaders of two nations have been able to generate is a warm sign of growing bonhomie. The Public approval of and open support that US will place on the UNSC permanent membership bid that India is going to ask for , is a much sought after and looked out for statement. The support of US is important at such an international stage as it puts the weight of a major player in world diplomatic stage behind India.

The issues of military and scientific engagement, encouragement of research and development and investment in the scientific powerhouses of the two nations are to be worked out, as is the signing and acceptance of major agreements like CISMOA, Tying up the loose ends of the Indo –US nuclear deal and finishing it are areas of utmost importance.

On the whole a lot of things such as deepening of economic relations , diplomatic support on major issues, improvement of one to one military engagement, facilitating scientific and knowledge exchanges and improving on present educational initiatives(such as the Fulbright Scholarship Program) are the call of the day .

It is hoped that the present exchange and initiatives are taken to the next logical level and with president Obama’s proposed visit to India later in the year ,The Indo –US sojourn continues to scale newer heights .

Santosh Krishna

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