India's New Best Friends: Everybody Wants to Know the New Player in the Game of Global Supremacy. Carla Power Reviews Shifting Partnerships

By Power, Carla | New Statesman (1996), January 30, 2006 | Go to article overview

India's New Best Friends: Everybody Wants to Know the New Player in the Game of Global Supremacy. Carla Power Reviews Shifting Partnerships


Power, Carla, New Statesman (1996)


"Mother India," wrote a historian dazzled by the subcontinent's pervasive influence, "is the mother of us all". Well, the world is rushing home to mother and discovering that the once dowdy matron has taken up step classes and Botox treatments. At once developing and developed, India has it both ways. It draws in prosperity through outsourcing and technology, while politically reaching parts of the world that western powers can't. Currently Washington's darling, it plays the diplomatic field, flirting with everyone from Russia to--daringly--Iran.

The United States It takes a current superpower to spot--and nurture--a potential one. India's growing economic clout combined with post-9/11 security concerns and a desire to contain China have led the US administration to court Delhi openly. Last summer President Bush agreed to give India access to civilian nuclear technology providing it separated its civilian from its military nuclear projects. The deal's critics say it interferes with the essence of non-proliferation treaties. The US Congress and the 45-country Nuclear Suppliers Group, which needs to lift a ban on nuclear trade with India, have yet to approve. One compelling argument: India's pointed talk of building a gas pipeline from Iran. A Bush trip to Delhi, pencilled in for February or March, will be a visit "to a very close ally", says a White House spokesman.

Japan Economic and regional interests have thawed the froideur that set in after India's nuclear tests at Pokhran in 1998, which led to denunciations--and, briefly, sanctions--from Japan. The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has met his Japanese counterpart, Junichiro Koizumi, five times in the past 18 months, pledging closer co-operation on everything from energy to pirates. Singh recently called Japan the "pivot" of Delhi's "Look East" policy, and there is talk of a bilateral free-trade agreement. With Brazil and Germany, the other two members of the UN's Group of Four, Japan and India have common cause in their quest for permanent seats on the Security Council. …

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