India Out Of The Loop On Af-Pak

March 18, 2010

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN

WASHINGTON: The atmospherics are good but the ground realities are unfavourable. India is struggling to stay relevant and advance its geo-political equities with the United States at a time Washington is buffeted by domestic pressures and international crises that are undercutting its resolve to put ties with New Delhi on a higher plane.

Good intentions, broad agenda, and packed schedules notwithstanding, Indian diplomatic foray into Washington this week was notable for gripes and grievances than any significant advancement towards the stated goal of achieving a strategic relationship with the US, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao had a series of meetings on Tuesday, including a drop-in by secretary of state Hillary Clinton at a state department meeting with her counterpart William Burns, but in the end there was no meeting of minds on the most fundamental security issue of the times.

India and US disagree on Afghanistan and Pakistan. That much became clear towards the end of the foreign secretary’s visit although elaboration on this issue was foiled by the cancellation of Rao’s wrap-up press meet (Indian Embassy said she was unwell).

At a time when Washington is searching for an exit strategy from the Af-Pak region, a statement released at the end of her visit (in lieu of the cancelled press conference) tersely noted that “she (Rao) reiterated India’s long-held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.” The international community on the other hand wants to get the hell out of Afghanistan — yesterday.

There were other unresolved issues. Rao’s engagement was also partly torpedoed by the withdrawal by the government of the nuclear liability bill in Parliament hours after her arrival here. As a result, there was little progress on tying up loose ends of the civilian nuclear deal including an agreement on reprocessing although there were brave words about the deal being on track and on schedule.

Most notably, on the issue of high-tech cooperation, the Indian side was still pleading for removal of some its organizations from the so-called Entities List, seven years after the establishment of the group. “The Indian side requested the US department of commerce to review US export controls applicable to India and update them to bring them in keeping with the changed political realities that contextualize India-US strategic partnership today,” the concluding statement said.

To say India has become a mere sideshow in Washington would be overstating it (besides meeting Clinton, Rao also called on the NSA Jim Jones and two key lawmakers on a day Washington was awash with the health care issue and the US-Israel spat). There were important advances in bilateral matters, including setting the stage for external affairs minister S M Krishna’s visit to Washington shortly leading in turn to President Obama’s visit to New Delhi later this year.

But on the Af-Pak issue, India is clearly out of the loop. Pakistan is again the new game in town. Even as the Indian foreign secretary made the rounds of a capital in political and legislative ferment (over the health care bill), diplomatic corridors were abuzz with Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s own outreach to the Taliban through his brothers and Pakistan’s effort to impose itself on that engagement.

Rao meanwhile was telling think-tankers that Taliban remained untouchables for New Delhi. India’s gripe about US arms to Pakistan also went largely unaddressed. In fact, even as Rao was complaining about the potential use by Pakistan of US-supplied weapons against India, Washington had delivered from its base in Jordan a squadron of 14 AH-1 Cobra advanced helicopter gunships to Pakistan.

Times of India



  1. Once again… PKHH fails to understand the Time of India is publishing this kind of material to make its readers even more anti Pakistan

    If you guys get boosts by reading this kind of biased material something is wrong…do you seriously think America will listen to Pakistan over India or Isreal ???

    • Aniq, it is a shame that India’s newspapers are so hateful of their neighbour. This has been going on for so many years and generations that it had almost become impossible to have a constructive chat with Indians.

    • you could be right,but the big question is do the Americans have a choice and you know that they are losing and it’s all due to the Indians

    • Washington does not care about exit Strategy,America would be more than happy to spend 25 years in Afganistan, all it would need to do, is tell its Biased media to say america is winning,, how long has america been in Japan ?

      LOL Pakistan has not even got a Civilian nuclear Deal with America , the US senate and Congress is full of Anti-Pak Elements

      Every time a Pakistani website, publishes American Properganda e.g Retired ISI helping Taliban or India blaming ISI for Succesful Terror Atatck

      I cant stop Laughing, You should be rejecting theese stories not encouraging them. The only thing you guys reject is stuff against Zaid Hamid

      Pakistan is a Muslim Country,we believe in Islam, Allah would never forgive us if As a result of Pakistani Policies the Afgan People were thrown in the Middle of INDO-PAK Prooxy wars, or Pakistan helped Anti Islamic terrorist into Power in Afganistan who attack minorities and Deprive Women of Rights

      Do you think Fatimah Bhutto would approve of Pakistan helping the Afgan TAliban to Power ?!

      Pakistan should be neutral in the war on Terror, this means no NATO supplies & NO sanctuary to Afgan Taliban

  2. i have to agree with Aniq. We can never trust yahood o nisara, they can never be our friends. How are we to know, they are using us to get their own agendas fulfilled. They have ruined our relationship with the taliban.
    Why will Mullah Omar listen to us when we have helped america in destroying the emirate, have allowed attacks on Pushtuns within pakistan.
    We are burning bridges with everyone and will be left alone, unless we use our brains we will be left with nothing. Israel will destroy our nukes and that is his agenda. May Allah protect Pakistan and make it a beacon of islam. May Allah destroy enemies of islam

  3. Pakistan is going to have so called strategic dialogues with US next week. Big talk is coming from our FM Qureshi such as civilian nuclear deal and security threats on the eastern and western borders from India, financial losses of US$36bn and so called war on terror. Our Government is busy in asking the US for dollars for their own secret accounts and have no time for paying attention to the biggest problems that we have on our hand and that is Kashmir is occupied, our water is stolen and almost all terror activities in pakistan are carried by india everyday and no one in our govenrment or army is doing anything about it. People of pakistan have to raise their voice and let these deaf and dumb politicians and burocrates know that enough is enough.

  4. […] India Out Of The Loop On Af-Pak […]

  5. Well i dont think so that this article is in favour of pakistan or related to pakistan the discusion above is the relation between india and america and yeh our bro says earlier we dont have to trust kufar’s they just want there agenda fullfiled like they did in afghan russia war when there agenda fullfiled they left alone pakistan and imposed sanctions thats the gift they give at the end everytime so our leaders have to wakeup and learn some lessons from past please wakeup may ALLAH help pakistan


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