Thursday, November 19, 2009



The following are the comments given by me in response to queries from an American analyst in connection with the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, to the US, from November 23 to 26,2009:

(a). No thinking has been ever done in India as to what it expects out of a long-term strategic relationship with the US. It is always the US which decides what it will give to India and it is New Delhi which accepts. It was so with the nuclear deal which was offered by Bush in July 2005.Manmohan Singh was pleasantly surprised when Bush offered it and then we followed it up.India's expectations from the US in the past were limited to US pressure on Pakistan to stop using terrorism against India, removal of restrictions on the supply of modern dual-use technology to India and US support for India's permanent membership of the UNSC. They remain the same.Any strategic relationship has to be a quid pro quo relationship. Since the US has hardly any dependence on India in any matter, there is no scope for any quid pro quo.

(b). India visualises itself as an Asian power on par with China. Beijing does not see it this way.China views India as a sub-regional Asian power and wants to keep its influence restricted to its immediate neighbourhood. Obama's visit to China has uncomfortably brought out to India that there is a convergence of perceptions between China and the Obama Administration on the limited regional role of India.China's pre-eminence has been recognised by Obama. Obama has re-hyphenated India-Pakistan relations and quietly relegated India to the role of a sub-regional power whose aspirations of having a status on par with China are unrealistic.

(c).In geopolitical matters, there is no futuristic thinking in India. The quality of Indian thinking and analysis----strategic and tactical----is poor. What passes for analysis in India is just wishful-thinking. Nobody in India has realised and brought out that for the first time the US, Japan and Australia have a leadership which does not rate highly India's potential as an emerging power. There is less and less talk of Chindia.Even today, many in India are not aware that the new Japanese Govt is not as enthusiastic about India as its predecessor Govt.was.There has been no exercise in India to analyse future scenarios in US-Japan relationship..

(d).Someone ( was it Henry Kissinger?) once said that power and influence are not given. They are taken. China has shown how to take it. India does not have the political will and courage to fight for it and take it. It is hoping that the US will give it. Bush and Condolleezza Rice seemed inclined to bestow on India the status of an Asian power on par with China. The Obama Administration does not seem to be so inclined.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

1 comment:

Ashwin R J said...

Dear Raman Sir, Would it be wrong on my part to suggest that plain toomfoolery or just showoff will pass for deliberate and concrete action in india. The US has understood the indian mindset. The political leadership of our country will not bend its back and take any concrete steps to address our situation unless there is an informed and responsive public. But all it takes to steal the show in India is the overt and covert support of certain sections of the media, Barack obama smiling and waving his hands and and a few token joint statements in full media glare and all indians who are so enamoured with everything phoren and Amrikan will hold hands and sing praises for our ally - the great USA. Th only thing missing in this entire gag reel is a few bollywood hero\heroines and an item number by Rakhi sawant (standard proponganda). Its time Indians woke up from their slumber and faced the facts. One just needs to look at the likes of our elected leaders - film stars and goons and convicted felons sometimes. All it takes in this country is to put up a good show and a few tokenisms in between to keep us guessing. The US has already affirmed our two greatest threats - China and Pakistan as most vital allies. Now since we know our place clearly, we should just get our act together. We have been pitching them the wrong story all along. They dont give a shit (pls excuse my language) that we are a democracy. They dont give a damn if we are the good guys, what it takes is money and control of resources. China already has the US by its balls. We should get our own leverage. China is expanding their control over global resources especially oil at a drastic pace, but we are still struggling to get those mining projects moving in those resource rich but sadly maoist infested areas. Actually to mention it as 'an Area' is kind of an understatement. i believe its more like a 1/5 landmass of our country. Asian power !! Get a life ! We are as of now nothig but posers. All the US needs to do is put up a show to the indian public so that our leaders wont loose their piss soaked faces to the public. This happened during the nuclear deal when control clauses and hyde act and other irritants started popping up and New Delhi literally had to literally beg washington to come up with some befuddled statemets (which i dont understand completely to this day) to save face. Lets see how long they will will sustain this housefull for this bollywood hype movie !!!