Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OBAMA FAILS TO UNDERSTAND INDIA'S DISTRUST OF CHINA

B.RAMAN

The failure of President Barack Obama to understand the distrust of China in large sections of the Indian civil society has landed the US in a situation in which the considerable goodwill between India and the US created during the administration of his predecessor George Bush stands in danger of being diluted by his unthinking words and actions.

2. The distrust of China in the Indian civil society is much deeper than even the distrust of Pakistan. Even today, despite Pakistan's continued use of terrorism against India, there is some goodwill for the people of Pakistan in many sections of the Indian civil society. As against this, outside the traditional communist and other leftist circles, one would hardly find any section which trusts China ---its Government as well as its people.

3. The Indian distrust of China arises mainly from three factors. First, the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Second, China's role in giving Pakistan a military nuclear and missile capability for use against India. Third, the Chinese blockage of the pre 26/11 efforts in the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council to declare the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the parent organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), as a terrorist organisation and its subsequent opposition for a similar declaration against the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JED).

4. The dubious Chinese stand on the issue of Pakistani use of terrorism against India is viewed by many in India as amounting to collusion.

5. The Indian suspicions of China have been magnified in recent years by Beijing's Look South policy. China is not a South Asian power, but it has sought to create for itself a large South Asian presence by developing a military supply relationship with the countries of the region, by helping India's neighbours in the development of their infrastructure of strategic importance such as ports and by supporting the Maoists of Nepal.

6. At a time when concerns in India over the increasing Chinese strategic presence and influence in India's neigbourhood have been increasing, it is an amazingly shocking act of insensitivity on the part of Obama and his policy advisers to project China as a benign power with a benevolent role in South Asia---- whether for promoting understanding between India and Pakistan or for influencing developments in other countries of the region.

7. It is politically naive on the part of Obama to expect that Indian political and public opinion will accept any role for China in South Asia in matters which impact on India's core interests. Bush's China policy had favourable vibrations in India by highlighting the threats that are likely to be posed by its military modernisation made possible by its economic power. A convergence of concerns over China between Washington and New Delhi laid the foundation for the strategic relationship between the countries.

8. Obama's projection of China as a trustworthy partner of the US in jointly tackling long-standing contentious issues in South Asia shows a shocking ignorance of the fact that China was one of the causes of the persistence of these issues. Its effort has always been not to promote mutual understanding and harmony in South Asia, but to keep India isolated by keeping alive the old distrusts and animosities and creating new ones.

9. At a time when Indian public opinion was looking forward to fruitful results from the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US, reports from Beijing on Obama's visit to China would strengthen the impression that Obama is not India's cup of tea. (19-11-09)

( 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: seventyone2@gmail.com )

7 comments:

ambi said...

Good morning sir, these are challenging times for Indians. PM has great responsibilities over his shoulder. Though I am disappointed with President Obama, I am not worried of China threat for 2 main reasons,
1) Earlier we had Prime Minister Nehru, who was living in a fool’s paradise. Mr. Manmohan Singh Is quiet pragmatic com pared to him.
2) In 1962 RAW was not there, today it is there to protect India’s interest.

I am sure as mr. Manmohan singh in the role of finance minister, became a game changer, and lead India to prestigious G 20, same way he as a PM will turn around IA, IAF, IN and RAW into indomitable defence & secutity machines.

Here is one suggestion for our PM. Pls. convey it to him. I agree that civilians should have effective control over military and intelligence apparatus, still there advice should be taken seriously, because after all these are the people who are actually involved in these hazards game for nation’s security. I am sure that even if one percent of importance is given to Indian Defense Forces and intelligence units compared to the power and clout that ISI, Pak army enjoys in Pakistan and PLA in China, I think our Job is done.
It is really time that RAW is given some free hand in its operations and Indian forces are equipped with the finest toys available currently. I am sure if PM is determined he will be a game changer strategically also.
As far as President Obama is concerned, I feel blessed that I am not an American. Be it financial or strategic decisions, he is proving his political immaturity. He is a perfect disaster for USA. If a head of the sate is backtracking on so many policies of it’s predecessor, who is going to trust USA? You have responsibility to honour your commitment when someone trusts your word. How will Indians trust USA in future? How will they forget its backstabbing and betrayal? Whatever good relations were created by Manmohan Singh with USA all are ruined today.
Sir is it possible that if USA can review its policy with India, so India should also review its defense deals awarded to USA companies. I am sure that there are good European and other companies who can provide us with same quality of toys. If they can be so insensitive to our interests, so can we.
Regards.

suresh said...

Just as diplomatic nicety did not stop China from getting Obama’s consent in mentioning that China and US will work together to get India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully in a joint statement issued at the end of Obama‘s visit to China, let us see if meek Manmohan Singh / S M Krishna team will not be timid in demanding to get Obama’s consent to mention following issues in a joint statement to be issued at the end upcoming Singh visit to US:
1. US deeply appreciates India’s help in development efforts in Afghanistan.
2. US and India will work together to eradicate terrorism emanating from Pak-Af area.
3. As a military authority in Afghanistan, US will work to persuade Pakistan to desist from carrying out any further attacks on Indian embassy and provide all the protection to Indian embassy personnel.
4. US and India will work together to eradicate the Taliban/Al Qaeda terrorism that pervading Pakistan and share all the intelligence to stop any more terrorist attacks on India from Pakistan.
5. US and India will work together to get Pakistan to hand over the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks for justice.
6. US and India will work together to help materialize Tibetan people’s aspirations to maintain their unique identity and culture in their homeland that has contributed so much to human civilization.

suresh said...

Just as diplomatic nicety did not stop China from getting Obama’s consent in mentioning that China and US will work together to get India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully in a joint statement issued at the end of Obama‘s visit to China, let us see if meek Manmohan Singh / S M Krishna team will not be timid in demanding to get Obama’s consent to mention following issues in a joint statement to be issued at the end upcoming Singh visit to US:
1. US deeply appreciates India’s help in development efforts in Afghanistan.
2. US and India will work together to eradicate terrorism emanating from Pak-Af area.
3. As a military authority in Afghanistan, US will work to persuade Pakistan to desist from carrying out any further attacks on Indian embassy and provide all the protection to Indian embassy personnel.
4. US and India will work together to eradicate the Taliban/Al Qaeda terrorism that pervading Pakistan and share all the intelligence to stop any more terrorist attacks on India from Pakistan.
5. US and India will work together to get Pakistan to hand over the perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks for justice.
6. US and India will work together to help materialize Tibetan people’s aspirations to maintain their unique identity and culture in their homeland that has contributed so much to human civilization.

Raymond Turney said...

Hi,

As an American I agree that Obama is much more sensitive to Chinese views than to Indian views. That said, it was the Bush administration that borrowed more than a trillion dollars from China, rather than raise taxes to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama is in no position to either pay this debt back or repudiate it, if anything he needs the Chinese to lend more. India, whether for good or ill, has spent its money on India's priorities rather than lending it to the US. Since I don't think the Chinese are ever going to get their money back, I think India may have made the smarter move. That said the US will be happy to ignore India's interest if it will make China happy at the moment, because it really needs to keep China happy.

Cheer up, maybe the US electorate will opt for Palin in 2012. Since she's not smart enough or experienced enough to understand the situation, who knows what she would do? Both Manmohan Singh and Hu Jintao are very serious, well educated people and their replacements probably will be as well. Who knows how they would deal with Palin?

Ray,

rahul kumar jha said...

What I would like more on your part is to
make this blog interactive .You write
excellently and quite regularly as well.
It will only be nicer if you could interact on this forum with us who have
evolving views and opinions in your comments section. Waiting for your
participation.

Ashwin R J said...

Dear Raman Sir, It might sound rather amateurish fom my part but i do believe the events unfolding between China and US have a lot to do with the traditional liberal democratic establishments dislike and mistrust for India. Also contributing to this might be the black community's racial prejudice towards indians. It is no secret that indians are the most hated community among the balcks, and i say this from my experiences and life in the US. The biggest beef that the african americans hold agaist us is that inspite of our color, the indian community in the US is one of the most affluent and educated communities in the US. This blows apart their entire argument of race prejudice playing an important role in their underdeveloped status. I can say this for a fact that never in my entire stay in the US have i been racially snubed by a white person (of course they might be there in plenty) but i have experienced racist behavior from black folks. i guess Mr President is just more black than white....

Shanmugam said...

Common culture is an important factor that moderates Indian public's attitude towards Pakistan. Outside India you can find many Indians and Pakistanis being friends. But China is an alien culture for us. They are alien in the same sense as Martians.