The atmospherics could not have been better, at the first round of Indo-US strategic dialogue that concluded in Washington last Friday. President Obama put in a personal appearance at an event where the formal interaction was at the level of the foreign ministers of the two countries. Secretary of state Clinton called US ties with India an affair of the heart.
But at the end of it all, what they had to show was a beginning, albeit a good beginning. While the range of strategic interaction between the two countries cuts a befittingly wide swathe, the concrete outcome remains negligible.
The delayed access to the terrorist Headley is the least of it. What irks India the most is the lack of progress in removing curbs on hightechnology exports to India from the US.
There is no gainsaying, of course, the role played by the path-breaking Indo-US civil nuclear accord in securing India release from similar technology denial by other countries, including normally-hypersensitive Japan.
However, the US itself remains reluctant to dismantle the raft of restrictions on technology export to what is now identified as a strategic partner. This must change.
New Delhi, too, has been dragging its feet on several things. While India is a principled non-proliferator of nuclear or missile technologies, it is not a member of the different international arrangements that formally commit countries to control export of sensitive equipment/technologies.
However, India can proactively identify the munitions on which it exercises export controls to show their correspondence with, for example, the Wassenaar Arrangement on export controls for conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies. This India has not done.
More than bureaucratic inertia, what stands in the way is political diffidence to affirm the imperative for India to play an active role in international relations befitting its emerging heft, politically and economically. It must become the common sense of at least the ruling party, and not just of the Prime Minister's Office, that for India to engage with all the major powers is not to compromise its interests, but to pursue them all the better.
Posted by Richa Kapoor,Sub-editor at NewsLink Services|10 Jun, 2010
Posted by Shekhar Mehra | 08 Jun, 2010
Posted by Uttam Sen,|07 Jun, 2010
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