Indo-US Relations in Post Cold War Era and Concerns for Pakistan

By Das, Kamaljit | Political Economy Journal of India, July-December 2009 | Go to article overview
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Indo-US Relations in Post Cold War Era and Concerns for Pakistan


Das, Kamaljit, Political Economy Journal of India


Introduction

India and United States are ten thousand miles apart. The two countries have a different geographical setting, races, cultures and habits. Their social structure, political systems and economic organizations are vastly different. US is super power economically and militarily. India is one of the poorest countries of the world, but because of other factors such as size, population etc. is a leading power. Despite these differences, the two countries have much in common. They cherish common ideas of democracy, liberty and racial equality. Both have faith in UNO as an instrument to bring world peace and international harmony.

The outstanding feature of Indo-American relation has been their roller coaster character. There have been many ups and downs with the downs being more conspicuous and apparently more news worthy than the ups. Sometimes more troubled, occasionally abrasive, frequently soured by divergent perceptions, interests and foreign policy courses the relationship is marked, if not marked by instability and fluctuations. The needle has occasionally swayed between harsh criticizing, expectations of parallelism of interests and policies of benign and sometimes not so benign tolerance. It must be noted that despite these changes in mood and perceptions, the needle have really fell or rose to their extreme. Within limited instability there has been a minimum measure of stability. There has not been either violent conflict or virtual alliance in the wavering course of this relationship. At the worst of times, there has been considerable USA assistance to India and valuable amount of trade from the point of view of Indian and at the best of times, India and USA foreign policies never reached a meeting point or point of fusion. No doubt, unrealistic expectations from each other were entertained at times but the outer limit of this relationship at least in the last two decades has been equally apparent.

The cold war parameters of international relation which had been based on the conflict of two alliance systems are undergoing radical shifts. In the great chess board of 21st century new trends in international areana are now influencing US cold war policy preferences indicating new choices that will determine the direction of it's relation in the new century. The changing nature of USA relation with Japan, its reconciliation efforts in Korean Peninsula, a growing yet cautious opening up with China and a constructive engagement with India clearly reflects a paradigm shift in the structure of many of its "traditional" cold war relations in the efforts for a new strategic configuration. In the scheme of American ground strategy for "new world order", India has emerged as an attractive regional ally. With a population of over a billion people, relatively stable political and economic structures and growing conventional and nuclear power, India is seen in White House as a country which may prove to be a useful partner in meeting challenges confronting the United States policies within South Asia and larger Asia Pacific region. In it's efforts to bring India closer to USA position, the USA Congress since 1993 has sought new assistance categories reflecting modern realities which would fulfill the requirements of the post cold war concerns. This approach has found the scales of USA policy preferences tilting considerably in favour of India despite a commitment to follow an "even-headed" approach in relations with India and Pakistan. Consequently the thrust of this growing relationship at the expense of availed regional concerns of its once "most allied ally" has become increasingly evident. While India has been getting away with it's nuclear programme and worst kind of abuses in the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has had to bear the brunt of not only economic and military sanctions, but has been under tremendous pressure by the United States to control religious extremisms and military activities from it's territory.

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