A decade has passed since the advent of the US-India Strategic Partnership which in 2000-end I had termed as the ‘Advent of the Inevitable’. With the passage of a decade one can now on analysis say safely that a vast cross-section in India do not feel infatuated by this Strategic Partnership any longer. The disappointment basically arises from the lack of substantial strategic and political gains accruing to India.
The Indo-US Nuclear Deal which was much trumpeted as a major strategic and political gain by the Congress Government and many notable Indian expatriates in USA has been a non-starter.
This basically has arisen from United States official obduracy under pressure from US nuclear firms that Indian laws on nuclear accidents compensation liabilities need amendment to suit US firms. This is a highly surcharged and emotive issue within India in light of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy involving Union Carbide and now Dow Chemicals-both US firms and the niggardly compensation that was made available to the victims.
People in India are strongly resentful of United States attempting to dictate to India to cease it’s economic and trade relations with Iran. India besides its energy security dependence on Iran has also ancient civilizational ties with Iran and also a strategic partnership agreement.
India also was coerced by the United States to give up its participation in the Iran-Pakistan-India energy pipeline project. Contrastingly while India buckled under US pressure, Pakistan as a US designated Major Non-NATO ally has gone ahead with the project.
Similarly, there are many irritants in United States relations with India on trade and Visas issue.
The major point that emerges then is as to what sort of a strategic partnership it is between India and the United States where the United States not only is insensitive to India’s strategic sensitivities on its main threat perceptions on China and Pakistan but the United States attempts to dictate to a sovereign nation of India as to what pattern should India follow in its foreign policy relationships with other States.
No sovereign nation worth its salt can be dictated to or coerced by another nation, unless the Government of the former allows itself to be dictated.
The Congress Government which has been in power for seven years and for much of the ten year long course of the US-India Strategic Partnership has to be blamed for the present state of this relationship.
The United States also shares a major blame as so far long used to relationships in Asia with dictatorial countries and military rulers, the US is applying the same template to the world’s largest democracy in the world, and therein lies the major reason for India-at-large not being infatuated with the US-India Strategic Partnership.