November 26, 2009

Obama is wrong. He need not meddle here

India has done the right thing by rejecting a US-China attempt to involve the latter in India-Pak issues after a joint statement in Beijing appeared to give China a greater monitoring role in the region.

Ever since Barack Hussein Obama became the US President, Indo-US relations seemed somewhat adrift. The new US administration has been giving the impression of patronising Pakistan in a way to make India suffer and trying to hyphenate the growing, democratic India with an imploding Pakistan whose collapsing, US-dependent regime has become reduced to a caricature. It is interesting how Obama has misread Indian sensitivities at a time when India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, considered unduly concerned about the US proclivities, is undertaking an official visit to the US.

America has its reasons to be kow-towing before China. It is in the decline as a superpower. Its economy is on a free fall. It is beholden to China. The latest pursuit of sharing the hegemonistic role with an ambitious China raring to usurp a larger role in the international arena is more a necessity of the US than the needs of ushering in world peace. Reports suggest that Beijing virtually micromanaged Obama’s visit in every respect. For the first time, the US accepted the Chinese claim on Tibet and ignored His Holiness Dalai Lama’s genuine worries on the future of his country and his people. China in turn rejected US pleas on almost every major issue including monetary policy, climate change, human rights violations and talks with Dalai Lama. Obama was returned empty handed after that strained diplomatic embrace, as some US journals reported.

The momentum in the Indo-US relations, which the previous US President George W Bush so painstakingly cultivated, is now lost. US aiding and abetting in Pakistan and messing up the entire West Asia have always been looked with suspicion in this country. India’s geo-political interests were at variance with the US vested interests in the region. Despite that majority of Indians welcomed the Indo-US nuclear treaty and improved relations with that country because of the shared values of democracy, free society and trade benefits. Conversely, majority of Indians look at China warily if not dislike and trepidation. It makes unreasonable claims on Indian territory, betrayed our trust repeatedly, helped Pakistan acquire nuclear arsenal and oppose India at almost every international forum. The present decline of the CPI(M), many experts feel, is the result of the people’s despair with that party, for it was seen as promoting Chinese interests in India. This is the reality of the Indian situation Obama has failed to appreciate.

The best both China and America can do is not to meddle in other nation’s affairs. World would be a better place, more peaceful and prosperous without their policing.

The US is a declining power. China is rising. Both face its peculiar challenges. Rude and crude intrusive diplomacy is not helpful for either. China’s relentless pursuit of strategic clout at any cost has only vitiated the Asian scene. So is the case with the US flawed policy on fighting terrorism with its eye on West Asian oil wealth. India does not need either the US or Chinese intervention in its dealings with Pakistan. Even in that country, if truth be told, the US is unwelcome, India is more popular, if many opinion polls are any indication. The US economic downturn is clearly the compulsion for Obama to sing Chinese tune. But India is under no obligation to let either China or the US interfere in its bilateral affairs.

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