Thursday, November 4, 2010

'India should stop riding piggy on the US'

India has expectations galore from the Barack Obama visit and a lot of persons are expecting that the US President would make the right noises so that it reaches loud and clear to our neighbours.

As Obama prepares to commence his much hyped India tour, experts on national security say that there is nothing to expect from him on the Pakistan front and the better thing to do would be to take care of our own security.

C D Sahay, former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing says in this chat with that let us focus on playing the good host instead of expecting a bag of goodies from the President. At no point of time am I suggesting that this visit is not important, but I guess what we must realize is that we need to fight our own battles and stop riding piggy on the US.

Our most serious problem is Pakistan and instead of expecting the US to solve our problem, we should have a proper policy in place to deal with this problem. How can we fall back on the US instead of developing our own intelligence. The only way to keep terror at bay which originates in Pakistan is to develop our own might and improving our intelligence.

I find it strange when India acts as though it needs the US to solve the problems pertaining to Pakistan and Afghanistan. I agree that we have a huge problem from these two nations, but don’t you think we should be the one’s handing out information and helping the rest of the world solve this problem considering that these two countries are our neighbours. Even on the terrorism front, the world should be coming to India for information. I know at the moment it is tough since the US has a better presence in Afghanistan and also Pakistan when compared to us. However instead of waiting for an Obama to come to India and address this issue, we rather change our mindset and start fending for ourselves. I feel that this kind of dependence on the US is unjustified.

India has been addressing the concern about the supply of arms to Pakistan. Once again let us not expect a Obama to come to India and address that issue. Instead we should think of matching them in this regard. Do not expect Obama to solve this problem. Instead increase our own defence preparedness to such a level that we could deter any sort of misadventure.

Yes there is a noise being made on the David Headley issue. We must not forget that it is entirely the prerogative of the US to permit his extradition or not. Try the man in absentia and I am sure that the US will not prevent that. I feel that we have got a lot of information from him and that gap which was present at the time of the 26/11 investigation has been filled up. Seeking his extradition at this point of time is just an emotive issue and I am sure not much will happen even if India tells Obama about the same. I think India should move on try Headley and Sayeed in absentia and then diplomatically handle the issue. Diplomacy has an important role in such matters and crying before the US president is not the solution over here.

The other issue which will come up during the visit is regarding the permanent member of the UN security council. I am sure India would want a statement from Obama in this regard and the same will be expected from the Chinese premier who will visit at the end of the year. I don’t think India should cry on this issue and expect the world to take notice of us. The day we start mattering to the world they will come to us and I feel that this is the way it ought to be.

The President is coming down and don’t expect him to come here and pursue our interest. He is here to pursue his own interest and let us not expect him to grant us everything that we ask for. Treat him as an honourable guest and do not expect too many sound bytes from him.

On the terrorism front which is a major concern, do not expect an Obama to act. Terror can stop not if Obama speaks, but it does only if we keep our house in order. As I said sound bytes may be there, but such sound bytes give comfort to the nation and a false sense of achievement for the government. Do not expect the US to compel our neighbours. Obama will have his own compulsions.

Overall what I guage is that this visit will be negative. After he leaves, I am sure a lot of us will talking of the things he did not do or give to us. Let us not raise our expectations too high and let us think of playing a good host.

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