India sees no change in US policy

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 5 | Updated: Nov 7 2008, 04:30am hrs
Rejecting the possibility of any marked shift in policy, Indias advancing relations with America is expected to be on the same track as visualised by the Bush administration and taken forward by Barack Obama, elected 44th President of the United States on Wednesday.

New Delhis expectation that the growing partnership between the two nations would be provided with extra momentum by the new administration in Washington was evident from Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs congratulatory message this afternoon to the Democrat President-elect. Emphasising on the strong ties between the people of both countries, Singh said he would look forward to working with the next US President to realise the enormous potential for cooperation that exists between India and the US.

Observing that the people of both countries were bound by their shared commitment to freedom, pluralism, individual rights and democracy, Singh said these ideas provided a solid ground for friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries. K Santhanam former director, Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, (IDSA) said : I dont expect any dramatic shifts in the policy towards India.

The government, though, will be watching carefully as to how Obama policy will be finetuned, especially on Jammu and Kashmir as well as issues such as outsourcing, CTBT and non-proliferation. Obamas remarks in an interview to MSNBC last week had raised some concerns as they were interpreted as favouring a nuanced interventionist role in J&K.

According to Lalit Mansingh, former Indian envoy to the US, The real strategic partnership between India and the US will begin with a new government in Washington and New Delhi next year. Trade and investment, defence and agricultureall those areas, which were sidetracked by nuclear dealwould now come to the fore, said Mansingh.

We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants, Obama had said. K Subrahmanyam, strategic analyst, however, suggested that India should not overreact. Obama is a flexible intellectual. Lets wait and watch.

Outsourcing is another area of concern, given that Obama has favoured a tighter regime on the subject. Observers, however, maintain that his comments should not bother India as both the countries have worked together and the bilateral relations will continue to improve under the new administration.

External affairs ministry official spokesman Vishnu Prakash said, We look forward to strengthening the partnership between India and the US and continuing the close engagement that we have developed in recent years both in bilateral co-operation and in addressing global issues of common concern.