US Can Do Little for India's Success or Failure - Think Tank

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Oct 26 (IANS) The US can contribute only marginally to India's success or failure, suggests a US think tank as it advised Washington to focus on global issues that will also affect India's longer-term interests.

"Most of what the US government can do for India lies in the broader global arena, and most of what India needs at home it must do for itself," says the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in a new report.

Authored by the think tank's Nuclear Policy Programme Director George Perkovich, the 54-page report notes that as President Barack Obama prepares to visit India next month, he faces criticism that his administration has done too little to enhance US-India relations.

The report titled "Toward Realistic US-India Relations" argues that expectations for a partnership between the two countries in the near term are unrealistically high and overlook how their interests, policies, and diplomatic style will often diverge.

"US policy cannot do much to help India's rise, but it can inflict major damage on global problem-solving efforts if it defers too readily to the narrow, often mercantile demands of the current relationship," writes Perkovich.

"Rather than maintaining the pretence of partnership, a truly pro-India policy would acknowledge that India has different near-term needs and interests as a developing country than does the United States, even as it recognises that each will benefit in the long run from the success of the other," he writes.

Key Conclusions:

* Interests are divergent. Careful analysis of the US and Indian interests does not show a close convergence in some key areas, and in cases such as China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, they differ in how to pursue shared interests even when both states benefit from each other's successes.

* Democracy can divide. Shared democracy is said to make the US and India "natural allies", but domestic politics and economics often keep each state from adopting policies that would befit a partnership.

* Bilateral relations should not be used to contain China. Emphasising military competition with China, as some do, is counterproductive.

* Nuclear energy cannot transform the relationship. The civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries has not turned the relationship into a partnership, as envisioned.

But it has undermined US leadership credibility in trying to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.


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