Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

US makes up with 'China is good, but India is better'
DNA ^ | 19th November 2009 | Seema Guha

Posted on 11/19/2009 5:40:20 PM PST by cold start

New Delhi: US president Barack Obama ruffled Indian feathers on Tuesday. The next day, the American ambassador to India spent considerable effort in soothing offended sentiments.

Timothy Roemer almost ran out of adjectives to describe the state of India-US ties, even as the ministry of external affairs expressed displeasure at Obama's statement with Chinese president Hu Jintao, which seemed to project China as the prime mover for peace and stability in South Asia.

Roemer's charm offensive is a bid towards damage control ahead of prime minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington next week.

A joint-statement by the US and China on Tuesday had said: "The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace and development in that region." This is being interpreted as Obama bowing deeper to Beijing than to the emperor of Japan, and involving China in Indo-Pak ties.

Reacting to the subsequent discomfort in Indian circles, the US ambassador went out of his way to indicate that relations with New Delhi were, in fact, on the top of Obama's agenda.

The envoy recalled that before he came to New Delhi for his assignment, Obama had personally described ties with this country as the "best and most important relationship to him and the people of the United States".

But despite the exaggerated importance Roemer is giving to the visit, the fact remains that India is not amused at the mention of China's role in India-Pakistan affairs. The external affairs ministry reacted to the joint statement making the point that "a third country role cannot be envisaged nor is it necessary. We also believe that a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can take place only in an environment free from terror or the threat of terror." India said all issues with Pakistan would be resolved bilaterally.

"This is not a good signal ahead of the prime minister's visit," said former foreign secretary and ambassador to the US Lalit Mansingh. "I won't call it a calamity but it is certainly insensitive of Washington. China had never been a factor in India-Pakistan affairs. This naturally will not be well received in New Delhi."

He pointed out that perhaps the Americans don't have an institutional memory. He recalled that after India's nuclear tests in 1998, former US president Bill Clinton and China's Jiang Jemin had issued a joint statement, which nearly broke up the Strobe Talbott and Jaswant Singh talks. Talbott had later discreetly apologised. Mansingh said that India is far more confident now and is likely to take up the issue when the PM meets Obama.

The envoy also brought up the 'terror talk' and said that the US has been urging Pakistan to take action and show results on bringing the Mumbai terror suspects to book and to destroy the infrastructure of terror in that country. He said that America's Af-Pak policy and the situation in the region would be discussed threadbare during Singh's meeting with the Obama.

"India and the US will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder, hand-in-hand and hour-by- hour to co-operate on combating terrorism," Roemer said.

"We are excited to have the prime minister visiting Washington," Roemer said, adding that he was leaving for Washington on Thursday to prepare for the talks with Obama.

He said the two leaders would be unveiling a new strategic relationship with global overtones. In short, with no big items on the agenda, Singh and Obama can concentrate on a comprehensive anti-terror agreement, on clean and green energy and take the civil nuclear agreement forward.

Roemer added the US and India would work together to protect their citizens from terrorism. This will entail exchange in information and technologies.

On being questioned on the statement, he said: "The two sides have said they would work for a more stable and peaceful relationship between countries in South Asia." He said the US wanted to ensure a peaceful and prosperous rise of China and at the same time wanted a close global partnership with India.

"It is all right for Obama to ask China's help in stabilising Afghanistan and Pakistan, but getting Beijing into India-Pakistan is silly," said former diplomat Arundhuti Ghosh.

Analyst Alka Acharya had a different take. "We must realise that China-US have a totally different relationship, they are two of the biggest powers in the world...and will naturally comment on what is happening in the neighbourhood. Instead of making sanctimonious remarks, when the PM goes to Washington we can have a line in the joint statement on Tibet and the Dalai Lama. This would be more meaningful," she said.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asiantripfailure; china; india; obama; us

1 posted on 11/19/2009 5:40:25 PM PST by cold start
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: cold start

Now India is Obama’s BFF?

2 posted on 11/19/2009 5:45:37 PM PST by Hugin (Sarah Palin: accept no substitutes!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: cold start

“An ambassador is an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country”

3 posted on 11/19/2009 5:46:08 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Oztrich Boy

Ambrose Bierce?

4 posted on 11/19/2009 5:46:59 PM PST by Hugin (Sarah Palin: accept no substitutes!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Hugin
Ambrose Bierce?

No. It's Older than America (Sir Henry Wotton 1568 - 1639, English writer, diplomat)

5 posted on 11/19/2009 6:06:26 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson