The reverse swing in the Manmohan Singh government’s foreign policy toward the impulses of the George W. Bush era is gaining traction. The gusto with which Manmohan Singh spoke out in the UN general assembly in September has become pale history. The US president Barack Obama’s punishing refusal to have a one-on-one with PM seems to have had its desired effect.
Look at the reverse swing in the past 4-6 weeks alone: a) the multi-billion dollar order for six more C-17 Globemaster III aircraft by the government (even before the previous order for 6 aircraft is fully executed); b) robust military cooperation with Vietnam and Japan; c) Aspen report (co-authored by Indian pundits who belong to the ‘permanent establishment’); d) initiative on the US-India-Japan trilateral dialogue; e) warming up to the US’s missile defence programme; f) back room support for the US’s New Silk Road project and the (abortive) attempt to create a OSCE-type regional security architecture for South and Central Asia.
Obama will most likely grant an audience to our PM at Bali. That is, if US deputy secretary of state William Burns’ speech
on Friday is any indication. He mentioned Asia-Pacific as the “strategic pivot” of the US foreign policy and spoke of the US and India pursuing “strategies that reinforce one another.” He placed the US-Japan-India trilateral dialogue within this framework and complimented our mandarins for transforming the “Look East” policy into a “Act East” policy.
To be sure, America counts on Manmohan Singh’s government to deliver in a big way. No, Sir/Madam, this is not the time to talk about “regime change” in India
. America prefers status quo.
Posted in Diplomacy.
– November 6, 2011