1 Updates
Biden visit: Can India live up to US expectations? (Comment: Special to IANS)
Photo Credit: LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI, Getty Images

Biden visit: Can India live up to US expectations? (Comment: Special to IANS)

Jul 29 2013, 2:20am CDT | by IANS

US Vice President Joseph Biden's recent visit to India (July 22-25) may not have led to any major breakthrough, but provided a valuable opportunity to renew the high-level political contact between the two countries at a time when there is some concern in India that the Obama administration is not paying adequate attention to the bilateral relationship.

US Vice President Joseph Biden's recent visit to India (July 22-25) may not have led to any major breakthrough, but provided a valuable opportunity to renew the high-level political contact between...

Filed under: news

Full Story below YouTube Videos

 
 

 

37 weeks ago

Biden visit: Can India live up to US expectations? (Comment: Special to IANS)

Jul 29 2013, 2:20am CDT | by IANS

US Vice President Joseph Biden's recent visit to India (July 22-25) may not have led to any major breakthrough, but provided a valuable opportunity to renew the high-level political contact between the two countries at a time when there is some concern in India that the Obama administration is not paying adequate attention to the bilateral relationship.

US Vice President Joseph Biden's recent visit to India (July 22-25) may not have led to any major breakthrough, but provided a valuable opportunity to renew the high-level political contact between the two countries at a time when there is some concern in India that the Obama administration is not paying adequate attention to the bilateral relationship.

Traditionally US vice presidents (VP) have a relatively marginal role in the larger matrix of US policy making, and there is a quip that the position though high on ceremonial status is largely irrelevant. The VP is relevant to the extent that the incumbent is 'a heartbeat or a scandal away from the White House' - meaning that if, hypothetically, the US president were to die in office or be forced to step down, the VP is automatically elevated to the White House. The most dramatic recall is that of then VP Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as US president following the tragic assassination of John Kennedy in November 1963. Subsequently, Gerald Ford as VP was sworn in as president in August 1974 following the impeachment of President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal.

Over the years some US VPs have been inconsequential, but since the time George Bush senior served as Ronald Reagan's VP and then moved into the White House in 1989, successive VPs have assumed policy relevant roles and both Al Gore and Dick Cheney are case in point. Biden is following that pattern and brings enormous value addition to the Obama White House. A folksy politician with considerable grassroots appeal, Biden has had a long innings as a Senator and played an important role in enabling the rapprochement in India-US relations - particularly in relation to the 2008 civilian nuclear cooperation agreement.

In the current visit, VP Biden met with his counterpart Hamid Ansari, as also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee and the emphasis was on three areas - political, security and strategic and economic-trade related. The last area was the focus of the Mumbai leg of the Biden visit where he met with corporate India.

The essence of the Biden message is contained in his remarks in Mumbai where he noted: "I would ask you to consider the historic opportunity that we have here...imagine what our two countries can achieve together, not only for one another but for the economic and political stability of the region."

Despite the dramatic rearrangement of the bilateral relationship in late 2008 under the Bush-Singh stewardship (when the estrangement over the nuclear issue was consensually resolved), India-US ties have been adrift due to a combination of circumstances - primarily the global economic downturn since 2009 and the deteriorating economic and fiscal health of both countries - and the related pre-occupation of the political leadership with their domestic priorities.

Against this backdrop, the Biden visit is welcome and provides an opportunity to both review bilateral ties and hit the reset button. While the US has its heavyweight political representatives who were committed to the India relationship - for instance Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton and now Joe Biden - it is difficult to identify a similar spectrum in the fragmented Indian political leadership.

The 2008 civilian nuclear agreement was realized in an almost furtive and apologetic manner on the Indian side, and it is to the credit of Prime Minister Singh that in the very last lap - he stood his ground and was willing to stake his office to stay the course. Regrettably in UPA II - major political actors, including cabinet ministers, have chosen to remain ambiguous about how they wish to take the bilateral forward, and have left it to the bureaucracy and the corporate leaders to define the contours of the relationship. Where political leaders have taken a position, it has been more in the neti neti (Sanskrit for 'not this, not that' ) mode and have played up to the gallery in stoking latent anxiety about the purported nefarious and overbearing US design to inveigle or exploit India. This has been most evident in the defence and security domain where there is opaque diffidence instead of objective clarity about how to maximize the relationship post 2008.

In short, there is no Biden equivalent in the Indian political spectrum, and Prime Minister Singh is too beleaguered and lacks the political support he needs to pursue certain long term strategic objectives. India is currently preparing for its next general election, and the received wisdom is that an uneasy coalition will form the next government in Delhi. Regional parties are likely to play a critical role in the forming of the next government, and hence there is need for deep introspection by this leadership about how India's long term strategic and security interests will be served apropos the relationship with the USA.

The Biden visit drew attention to the economic and trade dimension and highlighted the fact that very soon India will reach a $100 billion trade figure with the USA, and this will be comparable with that with China - both in quantum and imbalance. Yes there are areas of divergence whether related to WTO, protectionism, intellectual property rights, lack of market access, visa protocols and foreign investment regulation among others, but this is to be expected. However, market forces, officials and corporate professionals on both sides are engaged in finding a way forward.

Regrettably, this is not the case when it comes to the security and strategic domain. Here again there are major divergences, particularly with respect to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran in the immediate context. China is a case of both sides hedging their options, though the fact that Delhi was trying to deal with the latest Chinese army incursion during the Biden visit has its own sub-text.

The Indian security apex has to evolve a long term blueprint, with appropriate political backing, that is bipartisan, about how to engage equitably with both the USA and China and manage this complex triangular relationship in such manner that legitimate national aspirations are realized, while deep-seated anxieties are assuaged or effectively quarantined.

Biden's observation that "There is no contradiction between strategic autonomy and a strategic partnership .......global powers are capable of both" merits careful review and consideration for its policy implications by the Indian polity.

(C Uday Bhaskar is Distinguished Fellow at the Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi. He can be contacted at cudaybhaskar@spsindia.in)

IANS

Source: IANS

 

Don't miss ...

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

AFG Group Wins 2013 CMAA Project Achievement Award
AFG Group Wins 2013 CMAA Project Achievement Award
AFG Group is honored to receive the 2013 CMAA Project Achievement Award from the Association’s National Capital Chapter. The award recognizes AFG’s outstanding Construction Management practices on the 5-year Steam Line & Condensate Replacement Project, serving GSA’s Heating Operations & Transmission Division. This complex $13.6M project accomplished replacing 11,000 LF of underground steam lines that serviced 21 Federal buildings within the District.
 
 
Ukraine Crisis and Asylum Seekers
Ukraine Crisis and Asylum Seekers
Law Office of Alena Shautsova, a New York Immigration law firm located in Brooklyn , provides the full spectrum of immigration services including consultations regarding immigration benefits for citizens of troubled territories.
 
 
Major Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change Well Under Way in Europe
Major Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change Well Under Way in Europe
Responding to the UN report on climate change mitigation, European innovators working across a range of climate innovation disciplines are stressing that major efforts are well under way in Europe.
 
 
EU Climate Innovation Chief Executive: Private, Public and Academic Sectors Need to Come Together
EU Climate Innovation Chief Executive: Private, Public and Academic Sectors Need to Come Together
Mary Ritter, CEO of the EU's main climate innovation initiative Climate-KIC, calls for greater collaboration between the private, public and academic sectors to develop new solutions to stop further climate change.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Penguins Playoff Tickets Down 25% After Blue Jackets Take Home Ice Advantage
With their win last night against the Penguins, the Columbus Blue Jackets have won their first game in the NHL playoffs and brought the first NHL playoff win to the Buckeye State.  Despite that historic achievement,...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Community Colleges Are The New Business Incubators
The rumor is community colleges are fallback schools because of price or easy, last-minute admissions. But that isn’t exactly the case anymore. Community colleges are now in the business of providing entrepreneurial...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Life Insurance and the 831(b) Captive Insurance Company - Wait For The Test Case Before Signing Up
There is an old saying about life insurance: “Life insurance isn’t bought, it is sold.” The public doesn’t exactly clamor to buy life insurance, and if you don’t believe me then just try to find a life insurance store...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Cesar Chavez Flick Lacks Nuance, Economic Literacy
The new biopic Cesar Chavez film is an emotional tale that breathes new life into the story of the important Latino labor organizer who died in 1993. Yet the film has multiple inaccuracies and doesn’t give justice to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Why Jose Mourinho Needs To Worry About His Head When Chelsea Plays Atletico Madrid In UEFA Champions League
There are so many sidebars to the UEFA Champions semi-final between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea that is easy to forget that a fantastic encounter is in prospect forget. The Managers While Jose Mourinho needs little or...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sherry Turkle's Solution To The Downside Of Screen Relations: Conversation
If Neil deGrasse Tyson from Cosmos has become the  bard of deep time, then Sherry Turkle is the bard of the present moment. Her stories, most recently Alone Together, tell us what our emerging technologies are doing to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Cooperation And Corruption: Brothers From The Same Hormonal Mother
We humans contend with quite a few wicked flip sides in our personal and interpersonal lives. Gratitude can transform into resentment. Concern can morph into apathy. Love can quickly become hate. New research digs...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Sherry Turkle's Solution To The Downside Of Screen Relations: Conversation
If Neil deGrasse Tyson from Cosmos has become the  bard of deep time, then Sherry Turkle is the bard of the present moment. Her stories, most recently Alone Together, tell us what our emerging technologies are doing to...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use
OK, can we please stop pretending biofuel made from corn is helping the planet and the environment? With huge subsidies for ethanol in gasoline, with all States now selling gasoline having some ethanol blend, and a...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Box Office: 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' Opens To Mighty $47M Overseas
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually opened in 14 overseas markets this weekend. It opened in the UK on Wednesday and more markets over the long Easter weekend. By the time the film opens in America on May 2nd, it will...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla