Time To Woo India, Says US Thinktank

New Delhi, December 24: | Updated: Dec 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
The problem of nuclear weapons in South Asia is overwhelmingly a problem of Pakistan. By contrast New Delhis patience (during the recent tensions across the LoC) can only buttress its case as a reliable and stable future partner, according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a US-based think tank.

It has advocated a partnership with India whose military is a serious force, not just on land but in ocean as well. The think tank has warned that the real danger is the Pakistani regimes instability, not the balance of armaments.

In a paper titled Time to woo India, AEI has also dubbed contemporary India as a remarkably tolerant society. Hindu fundamentalism while sporadically violent has no Osama like terrorist leader nor an Al qaeda-like network. Nor is it a rejection of modernity, said the paper.

President George Bush has rightly framed the post-September 11 war on terrorism as a struggle to stabilise and democratise the Islamic world, the report said. That is an immense undertaking, one clearly intimidating to the Europeans.

It has suggested that their weakness should send US in search of new partnersperhaps beginning in New Delhi but not ending. The paper has observed that the cheek-to-cheek relationship between America and her principal cold-war partners has soured, with perhaps a permanent break-up in the offing. Even if US-European affairs can be patched up, it is time for the Bush administration to play the field and come up with some new geopolitical partners. Young, fit, sole superpower seeks like-minded democracies for long-term relationship. You must be willing to use military power, even pre-emptively. Turn-offs: rogue regimes, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, proliferation, ethnic cleansing. Turn-ons: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. The key element in any set of new alliance partnerships will be the nature of US potential partnersspecifically, their firmly democratic character, it has suggested.

But beyond these basic questions of compatibility lie the new strategic considerations shaped by the war on terrorists and terror-loving states in the greater Middle-East and by concerns over the future of China, still the most likely candidate as a great power rivalor future peer competitor. In light of those standards, it should not come as a big surprise that the traditional European great powers no longer look so attractive as strategic partners, the report said.

Still, in a theatre of war that stretches from the eastern Mediterranean to Southeast Asia, these are but marginal contributions. And in a struggle that promises to last decades, something more than an ad hoc coalition of the willing will be needed to secure a lasting victory. The US must look further afield to find its strategic true love.

Perhaps the most alluring partner for the US in the coming century is India. While there is much work to do to repair past decades of rancorous relations between India and the USand to overcome many misconceptions, such as the perceived danger of Indias nuclear programa sound basis for future cooperation exists.