January 10, 2012

With friends like the Anglo-Saxons

With friends like the Anglo-Saxons
Who needs enemies

Who needs enemies with our eternal well wishers and friends, the Anglo-Saxons .As I have always maintained that they could not care less what happens to India .Washington has no allies , only poodles .

The Indo-US nuclear deal has been claimed as a great concession by Washington ( from one democracy to another , as if we were not a democracy earlier ) , but have the problems been cleared or resolved regarding NSG or supply of higher technology .

The India-US nuclear deal had virtually collapsed as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told President George W Bush it was not going to work and the entire administration had given up on it.
Why was Condi Rice ( & US) were so desperate for US to sign* the deal ( one of few achievements of a disaster called George Bush).But for little personal gains Indians will give in , make concessions.* Pl click on the deal in blue above

K.Gajendra Singh 10 Jan 2012

Unwelcome interventions
IndExpress 9Jan2012 Inder Malhotra

In two earlier articles in this series (‘Dialogue of the deaf’, IE, January 22, 2010) and ‘Immoveable objects”, IE, February 5, 2010), I have given as many dreary details as possible of the failed Swaran Singh-Bhutto “talkathon” that began in Rawalpindi on December 26, 1962 and collapsed in New Delhi on May 16, 1963. There is no need to repeat them here, except to underscore that but for the unflappable Sardar, the talks would have broken down even before they had begun. This was so because of the effrontery of Pakistan and China. These two countries announced, just after the arrival of the Indian delegation on Pakistani soil, that they had reached a boundary agreement “in principle”, and it would be signed soon.

However, it is necessary to describe here what has not even yet been mentioned: Even while the two neighbours were talking to each other, Britain and the United States went on ratcheting up their pressure on this country to “make concessions to Pakistan” over Kashmir. To begin with, the US ambassador, John Kenneth Galbraith, and the British high commissioner, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, only wanted that they be kept in “close touch” with how the talks were going so that they could “help” when necessary. But when absolutely nothing could be achieved at the first two rounds at Rawalpindi and New Delhi, the two Western powers became both alarmed and overactive.

The third round of the talks was due to begin in Karachi on February 8, 1963. Nearly a week earlier, Philip Talbot, then US assistant secretary of state, suddenly arrived in Delhi, and Galbraith took him on a round of South Block, from the prime minister downwards. Walter McConaughy, the American ambassador to Pakistan, was with Talbot. They stated at length that the US Congress was being “difficult” about aid to India and only an agreement between India and Pakistan could ease the situation. They understood that Pakistan’s demand for a “plebiscite in Kashmir within a year” was unacceptable, but without larger concessions by India no settlement was possible. To this McConaughy added that it was in India’s interest to “strengthen” Ayub’s hands because “any other Pakistani leader would be more difficult”. The Western line of thinking and action was thus clear.

Anyone who has closely analysed the six rounds of India-Pakistan talks knows that logically these should have ended at Karachi. For it was there that India offered to change the cease fire line in Pakistan’s favour, giving it an additional 1,500 square miles in the Valley. But, riding a high horse, Bhutto would have nothing of this. He was prepared to give India the small, southern district of Kathua and demanded the rest of the Valley. This had driven Commonwealth Secretary Y.D. Gundevia to tell him that the Indian delegation wouldn’t go home taking with it only a “kachhua” (tortoise). Even so, since Pakistan seemed anxious to prolong the negotiations, three more sterile rounds were held. The next one in Calcutta (now Kolkata) was scheduled for March 12.

A fortnight before that date it was announced that Bhutto would visit Beijing before arriving in Calcutta. The Americans grew anxious. Their worry was that, faced with the second “provocation”, India might “write off” the Calcutta talks. Galbraith found it necessary to “warn” Indian officials that American reaction to the cancellation of the talks would be “very strong”. Reportedly, the US remonstrated with Pakistan also about the Bhutto visit to Beijing to which the latter’s response was: “You give arms to India, we make friends with China”.

After the failure of the Calcutta round, the two sides were to meet in Karachi five weeks later. The US and Britain used this interval to try and persuade India to give Pakistan a larger part of the Kashmir valley, arguing that the Pakistanis “would not be content until they had some say in the Chenab basin”. Gundevia explained to them rather impatiently that the Indian side had explained to all Western interlocutors, including US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, that this was not possible, and why it was not possible.

Two days before the Indian delegation was to leave for Karachi, the Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, G. Parathasarathi, came to Delhi for consultations and startled all concerned by showing them a paper entitled ‘KASHMIR: Elements of a Settlement’. He reported that the American embassy in Pakistan had given him this document, and had told him that it was a “joint Anglo-American demarche” that had been officially presented to Bhutto.

GP, as he was generally called, was himself stunned when told that no one had handed this paper to New Delhi. The core of the paper was: “Neither India nor Pakistan can entirely give up its claims on the Valley. Each must have a substantial position in the Vale”. And then the US-British paper had proceeded to give Pakistan almost everything it wanted. The control of the Chenab headwork was a “must”. (Incidentally, this is something Pakistan harped on also during the back-channel talks between the nominees of then prime ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif respectively, in the late 1990s.)

After Nehru and his advisers had discussed the ‘Elements’, the prime minister asked Swaran Singh whether he still wanted to go Karachi. After a brief discussion it was decided that the Karachi talks should go on, but before that, letters should be sent to Kennedy and Macmillan tersely rejecting the Anglo-American suggestions. The letters were dispatched almost immediately after the anger in the initial draft was “softened somewhat”. The letters made no difference at all to the busybodies from the two major powers.

As is well known, all through 1961 and until shortly before the Chinese invasion in 1962, JFK had been advocating “informal, friendly mediation” over Kashmir and had indeed offered the services of Eugene Black, president of the World Bank (who had earlier helped India and Pakistan negotiate the Indus Water Treaty) for this purpose. Nehru had courteously and categorically declined the offer.

There was much surprise in South Block, therefore, when in reply to Nehru’s letter on the Anglo-American ‘Elements’, Kennedy revived the mediation idea. It was to be the American and British theme song for quite a while.

The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator

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