An IDC Report


New Delhi, 15 April 2005

We had earlier highlighted ‘India's Dream’ (2001) of improvement in economy and international recognition and power and we got a number of hits and comments. Going nuclear was a blessing in disguise. We also wrote that the pipeline between India and Iran would be a great boon to South Asia and meet India’s energy needs. Recently Condelezza Rice came and wooed Inda and now with the visit of Wen Jiabao, trade with China has risen rapidly to $14b and the Chinese Prime Minister after visiting Pakistan, had pressed them for closer relations with India. 

The Indian and Chinese PMs agreed to form a strategic partnership, to end the border dispute and boost trade in an agreement marking a major shift in relations. "India and China can together reshape the world order," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a ceremony for his Chinese counterpart. India and China had talks in Beijing on 30 March ahead of PM Jiabao’s visit and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. 

NSA M K Narayanan signed an agreement with Vice Minister Dai Bingguo in Delhi which envisaged that when marking the border, both countries would take into account historical factors, geographical features, wishes of the people living in the area, security and whether the area was currently under Indian or Chinese control. It looks as if the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with minor adjustments would become the border and in time this may happen with Pakistan too (LoC).

Pakistan had signed a joint production agreement with China for FP17 planes, F 22P frigates and had been forced to delay the opening the of the Gwadar deep-sea port (which the Chinese PM was to inaugurate), for security reasons. On 16 April President Musharraf is due to visit Delhi and PM Manmohan Singh can convince him of the reality about India and that he needs to cool his terror motives, keep the Kashmir issue on the back burner and cooperate, so that Pakistan too can join the ‘Indian Dream’. If he does not, there may be trouble ahead for Pakistan. Let buses run and people of Kashmir meet and like the LAC let the LoC become the border with Pakistan. Inshahallah!

PM Manmohan Singh has clearly stated that the borders cannot be redefined. President Musharraf should also take note that to help Pakistan, India had proposed to extend the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline to China and sought greater collaboration between Indian and Chinese oil majors to build energy security for two of the world's most populous and energy-thirsty nations. "There has been no separate detailed consideration of energy cooperation between India and China (but) in my interactions with Chinese officials (on sidelines of summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao) I raised the issue of extending the Iran–India gas pipeline to south China via Myanmar," Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said.

Now in an article titled ‘American Indian Century’ by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor of the Hindustan Times, gives a credible analysis of how US–India relations were shaping up in the second Bush Administration. Now that the Srinagar–Muzzafarabad bus has run successfully some excerpts and pointers on the state of affairs between India and America are listed. Pakistan, China and the CPI in India (as a partner in the UPA Govt. but with its insistence on the common minimum programme), can only derail India’s march. If Pakistan does not see the light it will be to its own detriment. Even Condelezza Rice accepted this.

  • Bush was personally mesmerised with India’s polity, “A democracy of one billion people,” he told advisors. “That’s incredible.”  

  • Going by Indian and US diplomatic sources, the evidence is that with the second Bush administration, the big picture is back in focus. In part this is because West Asia is in a relatively less hysterical state of affairs. The India file is again moving around at the highest levels in Washington.

  • Today, with neo-con and realpolitik advocacy having fused into a radical but internationalist conservative worldview in the White House, support in the Bush administration for modifying the global order has never been so high. Nor has the belief that India should be part of any new global architecture.

  • There is now a two or three-year window of opportunity for India and the US to tackle the stubbornly knotty core that weighs down their bilateral relationship.

  • The omens are good. The second Bush cabinet is staffed with people who most closely reflect the policy sentiments of the US president himself. When it comes to India, this includes not only Rice but also Stephen Hadley in the White House and even Donald Rumsfeld. But India needs to keep in mind that its own lobbying in Congress and with other great powers will also be crucial. The international system helps best those who help themselves.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is reported to have told members of the National Conference of Editorial Writers that "…de-hyphenated the [India–Pakistan] relationship –– we have a good relationship with India, we have a good relationship with Pakistan –– all of that, I think, has contributed to a significant improvement in relations between the two."

More significantly, Rice ruled out any comparison between the two South Asian neighbours, noting that India was looking to "grow its influence into global influence," a goal, she said, the US supports, while Pakistan "is looking to a settled neighbourhood so that it can deal with extremism in its own borders."… "a joint venture against terrorism and cooperation in reducing the threats from weapons of mass destruction" and "pursuit of common global geo-strategic interests carried forward in calibrated fashion, leveraging each others' complementarities in resource endowments. The goal being, to reach heights never before attained by any two nations on earth". In that context, "both nations will need to manage, imaginatively and effectively, their differences in regard to Pakistan which, in terms of the larger picture, should be nothing more than a minor irritant"


In the context of President Musharraf’s impending visit to India ostensibly to watch the India and Pakistan teams playing Cricket, it would be in the interests of both to see the advantages of coming together and settle the Kashmir issue somewhat along the LoC –– there is history to be made in the sub continent to regain the glory of Hindustan’s past and ensure a secure and stable Pakistan –– all a part of ‘India’s Dream’!

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