/**SNAP Code begin **/ /**SNAP Code end **/

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Clinton's Nuclear Sites

Few days ago we weren't sure what role Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, would have when it comes to future India-US relationship. We proposed it would be restricted to trade issues.

And with all generals from Pacific command and heads of CIA making their presence in Delhi, Hillary Clinton presumably cares only about trade and people-to-people issues.
It seems we made the right call. Now things are coming into more focus. With Gen. James Jones, US NSA, visit talking exclusively about terrorism and Afghan-Paki region with Bharatiya establishment, Hillary Clinton apparently will be talking about where the nuclear power plants will be built by US companies, meaning trade and commerce issues. Smt. Clinton seems to be scoring with the WTO deal few weeks ago, when Anand Sharma gave up what Kamal Nath fought for for years, and now this.
India is likely to announce locations for two nuclear power plants, which would be made available to the American companies, during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to New Delhi next month, a top Obama Administration has said.
Who in US establishment would Bharat engage to talk about China, when China is becoming openly aggresive, and about other areas of concern? Are those issues even on the menu?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summery of Tussle

Jeff Smith of American Foreign Policy Council summarizes the ongoing tussle between India and China on China's apparent claim on Arunachal Pradesh in WSJ. He forgets to bring up the promise China made to PM Atal Vajpayee during his official to China on solving the border issue peacefully even as China was digging in with its troops and weapons systems on their side of Arunachal border.

He however posits what Washington's position should be.

What is Washington's role in this Asian rivalry? In the short term, a priority must be to tamp down friction over the border. In the longer term, Washington should leverage its friendly relations with both capitals to promote bilateral dialogue and act as an honest broker where invited. But it should also continue to build upon the strategic partnership with India initiated by former president George W. Bush, and support its ally, as it did at the Nuclear Suppliers group and the ADB, where necessary. Washington must also make clear that it considers the established, decades-old border between the two to be permanent.

Most importantly, though, the Sino-Indian border dispute should be viewed as a test for proponents of China's "peaceful rise" theory. If China becomes adventurous enough to challenge India's sovereignty or cross well-defined red lines, Washington must be willing to recognize the signal and respond appropriately.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Missing Word is Strategic

It's hard to know how much influence current US Secretary of State has on US president. Even if one ignores the election battle they went through, Sri Obama has an alternative point man for Afghan-Paki, and presumably for India, region for all security and terror related issues. And with all generals from Pacific command and heads of CIA making their presence in Delhi, Hillary Clinton presumably cares only about trade and people-to-people issues.

Bibek Debroy says one reason why Kamal Nath was not re-appointed commerce minister was because he gave US trade representative hell when negotiating the next round of WTO agreement - meaning, he was fighting for India's cause. Apparently the new commerce minister, Anand Sharma, already obliged his US counter part by making concessions. This implies Clinton apparently already influenced Indian PM decision making.

Hillary Clinton, it seems, has more influence in New Delhi than in Washington. So her speech at USIBC, the text of which I could not find on USIBC site, may not be a comprehensive take on relations between India and US.

However, putting the speech next to her take on the future path of US-China and US-Russian relationships makes us wonder where India falls in the scheme of things in Washington. References to 'Upgrade of Relationship' and 'Version 3.0' in her speech are fine but beyond commerce and trade, there is nothing substantive in her speech that indicates a new level of relationship. More than what was said, we find what was unsaid more interesting.

Ms. Clinton said while pursuing an "enhanced bilateral partnership" the two countries should recognise that their official ties "are past due for an upgrade" as compared to other metrics of cooperation. "We need bilateral cooperation between our governments to catch up with our people-to-people and economic ties".

If Bush administration's "strategic partnership" was version 2.0, we think "enhanced bilateral partnership" is a downgrade to the relationship that existed during the last the few years of Bush years. This may, quite possibly, be an indication of Clinton's influence in Obama's government. There will be more clarity when Obama himself has something significant to say about the relationship. For now, the trajectory of the relationship seems to be pointing downwards.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Humour: Should the Code be Transparent Too?

Martin Demello writes in IE:

The 2005 Right to Information Act was a significant milestone for India, a firm commitment to openness and transparency. The UPA’s promises of a public data project has only strengthened that commitment, promising to sweep away the nation’s dusty piles of secrecy and bureaucracy. But with increasing computerisation comes a related, but often overlooked imperative — that all government software be open source.
Just wondering if the open source code needs to be written in transparent font so one can see through it also. What's more baffling is this column was published at all!

Note: Have been away from blogging while dealing with family issues. Plenty of things happened in the past six months including BJP's failure to win general elections and return of the failed UPA back in power and the rise of left in the US. One nugget that can be taken away from the general and, especially, state elections in AP is people complain about corruption all the time, but they don't care about it. Corruption as a political issue is a non-issue for voters.