Reading dispatches from prominent Editors-in-Chief and the media entourage on board Indian Air Force One flying Dr Manmohan Singh to Washington one was disgusted on two counts. The first count was the spin being given that that the Indian Prime Minister seemed sprightly and confident by the long list of foreign policy successes achieved by him [!!!] as he proceeds to Washington. The second was the case of the mixed up priorities being adopted for discussions with the US President.
It is now well debated in India and conceded that the Prime Minister’s foreign policies have been an utter failure when it comes to Pakistan with him having outsourced India’s Pakistan policy to Washington. Flowing from this abject foreign policy failure is the servility with which India has been making endless entreaties to Washington to prevail over Pakistan to take action against Mumbai 26/11 perpetrators and that USA should give India access to Headley. India’s foremost priority should have been to firmly tell the US President that his pronounced tilt towards Pakistan would endanger the yet to mature US-India Strategic Partnership. India would not have been placed today in this embarrassing servile position and mixed up priorities had the Indian Prime Minister adopted strong policy postures befitting an emerging global player.
Why should the United States prevail over Pakistan on India’s behalf on the 26/11 issue when it has to secure its own national security interests in Afghanistan which can only be facilitated by a collusive Pakistan Army? Why should the United States give unfettered access to India to Hadley when the whole world knows that he was a strategic asset nurtured by the Pakistan Army, controlled by the Pakistan Army and his operations directed by the Pakistan Army and further that US intelligence agencies were privy to his suspicious activities. Some reports have even suggested that he was a double agent for US intelligence agencies. Can the US afford to give unfettered Indian access to Hadley when his past could open up a can of worms which would not only open up the Pakistan Army connection to Mumbai 26/11 but also possibility of connection between Pakistan Army and US intelligence operations.
Don’t these questions strike those in the Indian policy establishment whose task is to analyze and anticipate responses to Indian policy formulations which as it is are lacking the firmness that should accompany them from an emerging global player? Or these worthies feel that constant repetition of such entreaties would make sense to those whom they are intended for.
The central message for the United States and the US President that should have received the Indian Prime Minister’s utmost priority for the current Washington visit should have been to convey that India considers that US-India relationship is presently at cross-roads and that if the United States does not correct the tilt that is being brought about in favor of Pakistan because of the Afghanistan factor, then the very future of the US-India Strategic Partnership stands endangered.
But then going by the track record of the Prime Minister of the last six years it would be too much to expect from him the clarity of thought on India’s strategic and foreign policy priorities and the resolve and firmness with which these need to be articulated to major powers.
Once again India would be treated to the spectacle of the Washington visit being hailed as a success by an obliging Indian print media especially, by parading the fact that the US President has decided that India ultimately would be given access to Hadley.