U.S.-India on the Down Low

For various reasons, the truth of the military relationship between the U.S. and India is inconvenient for both countries. Considerable anti-Americanism and national pride makes the Indian side prickly regarding any perceived infringement on Indian sovereignty and autonomy. Meanwhile, recognition of India’s strategic significance combined with the need for discretion in terms of regional perceptions makes the subject a delicate one for the U.S. The End User Monitoring agreement recently agreed to by the two sides during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit is a good illustration of the dynamics involved, and gives me the opportunity to call your attention […]

India’s Dongria Kodh Tribe Resists British Mining Concern

Shareholders at the annual meeting of British mining company Vedanta Resources found themselves thrust into an ongoing debate between the corporation and human rights activists on Monday, when supporters of India’s Dongria Kodh tribe made an impassioned appeal to halt plans for a bauxite mine they believe could end the tribe’s way of life. Vedanta plans an open-pit bauxite mine to tap the resources in Orissa’s Nyamgiri Mountain. The Dogria Kodh people, who number only about 8,000, depend on the mountain and surrounding ecosystem for their way of life, and hold the land to be the sacred home of their […]

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her first official trip abroad to Asia in March 2009, insiders in both New Delhi and Washington were privately critical that she neglected to include India in her itinerary. With her now-completed inaugural visit to India, Clinton’s broad mission was to show that the administration of President Barack Obama is just as serious about a strategic partnership with New Delhi as the previous one under George W. Bush. But strengthening the U.S.-India bilateral relationship is just one part of the equation, even if, to be sure, there is much work to be done […]

India, France and the Burqa Law

Georges Malbrunot writing at Le Figaro flags one of the hidden ironies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s sudden preoccupation with burqas, as well as France’s approach to veils in general — namely, that Indian Sikhs might be affected by the laws, too, and this at a time when France is busy wooing India in a major way. India was the guest of honor at this year’s Bastille Day military parade, reflecting the importance of the French-Indian defense relationship (France is India’s third-largest arms supplier). And French nuclear giant Areva already has some bids in for civil nuclear reactors. According to […]

The Pakistan Disconnect

The NY Times reports that Pakistan is less than keen about the latest Marine offensive in southern Afghanistan, and I think Rob over at Arabic Media Shack has a pretty useful takeaway: Manyin America, especially inside the COIN community, have becomefrustrated with Pakistan lately, wondering why they “don’t get it,” andwon’t develop their own Counter-Insurgency to take out pro-Talibanelements inside Pakistan. It’s quite simple actually: Pakistan and theU.S. do not have mutual interests in this case.Can we just admit this? I’d add that Pakistan and the U.S. do not share a common perception of Pakistan’s interests in this case. And […]

NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s five-day trip to India marked the formal launch of a full-fledged bilateral exchange between Washington and New Delhi, one that will set the tone for the trajectory of India’s future engagement with the Obama administration. As expected, Clinton’s agenda covered the five pillars of the Indo-U.S. relationship: defense cooperation, science and technology, energy and climate change, education and trade. But the visit left the impression that it was crafted to be more symbolic than substantial, leading many to believe that Clinton was working according to a script, rather than as a much-vaunted […]

Has Washington forgotten about India? After increased engagement and improved bilateral ties under two successive American presidents, several commentators have wondered if President Barack Obama is undervaluing relations with New Delhi. With the new administration’s attention centered on developing a partnership with China, stabilizing Afghanistan and Pakistan, re-engaging Russia, and containing Iran and North Korea, it’s unclear whether India will be a strategic priority for the United States. That Washington has been primarily focused on the U.S.-China relationship is understandable. Leadership from today’s superpower and tomorrow’s great power are seen as essential for addressing transnational threats. U.S. Secretary of State […]

Last week’s major policy address by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was as noteworthy for the strategic concepts she dismissed as for the ones she embraced. Clinton provided Americans with a strong sense of how she plans to conduct U.S. foreign policy: not merely as “the indispensable nation” that assumes international leadership, but rather as the global rule-set convener that aggressively builds partnerships across a strategic landscape pulsating with rising players — both state-based and transnational. In doing so, Secretary Clinton explicitly rejected the emerging — and yet painfully antiquated — conventional wisdom that portrays a world inevitably divided into […]

G-8: Eight is Enough

Reading through this European Voice article by Richard Gowan and Bruce Jones (it’s sub. req., but Global Dashboard has a write-up here), I can’t help but think that the G-8 would be more relevant if it returned to its exclusive Euro-Atlantic roots, as opposed to the neither/nor affair it has become. As Gowan and Jones explain, U.S.-EU splits prevent any broader agreements from being reached with the emerging powers, while the broader format prevents the U.S. and EU from meaningfully hashing out their differences. They argue for maintaining the current format, while simply doing a better job of organizing it. […]

NEW DELHI — While India’s immediate military aim is to build a potent strike force against Pakistan, it also harbors long-term plans to field a credible deterrent against China. This reflects the fact that although military efforts to counter Pakistan, such as the strengthened deployment along India’s western frontiers, are usually given precedence, the perceived threat from China remains very much on the radar. A case in point is India’s recent decision to buttress its military presence in the Northeast frontiers by basing its latest “air dominance” Russian Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters there. The move is meant to check China’s buildup […]