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United States may Prefer Return of Congress Government
by Dr. Subhash Kapila Bookmark and Share
India may not have got much out of the recent G20 Summit at London last week but what the Congress Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh did receive was a ringing tribute and recognition from US President Barrack Obama in terms of leading India. Ordinarily such glowing references would have been taken in normal course as mere diplomatic references suiting the occasion. Ordinarily such a glowing tribute would have been taken as an American tribute to India's growing power status. However, when such references have been made knowing fully well that India is in the midst of a General Election where Dr Manmohan Singh's record of governance is being politically challenged and that of also the Congress Party, then one is led to the intriguing question whether this assertion amounted to indirectly indicating a United States' political preference for the return of the present Congress Government to power in May 2009.

And when one delves deeper in the analysis of this intriguing assertion one finds that there may exist some strong political reasons for the United States Administration preferring the return of the Congress Government led by Dr Manmohan Singh, more pointedly.

The most pressing and over-riding strategic fixation of the Obama Administration is to retrieve the strategic quagmire that US&NATO Forces find themselves in Afghanistan today. This has occurred as a result of United States mistaken over-reliance on the Pakistan Army that it would assist and cooperate in helping the United States to achieve its war aims in Afghanistan, But as constantly referred in my past Columns, Pakistan was all along double-timing the United States on this count and wrecking United States war effort against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Repeating history, the Obama Administration in the formulation of its new AF-PAK Strategy to retrieve Afghanistan has once again made Pakistan as the central instrument of the new Strategy. Not only that it has gone further in deviating from its prime war aim of retrieving Afghanistan to that of retrieving Pakistan from state-failure.

Central to this deviation is the mistaken perception fostered by the leading US strategic advisers that if Pakistan has to be retrieved from its state 'failure and made to assist effectively the US effort in Afghanistan then the United States must prevail over India to reduce Pakistan's insecurities by some compromise on Kashmir and also that India should be made to reduce the deployment of the Indian Army in Jammu &Kashmir.

These misperceived and strategically mistaken assertions have been alluded to both by President Obama and his topmost strategic policy advisers. There are no indications to the contrary that despite objections from the Indian strategic community no change in this particular US line of thinking seems to be taking place. And that brings one to the conclusion as to why the United States would prefer the return of Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister and the Congress Party in power after the General Elections in May 2009.

It seems and not without reason that the Congress Government would be more amenable to United States pressures to fall in line with the US formulations of its South Asia policy strategies. The new Congress Government , if it comes into power once again, can be expected to yield to US pressures to resume the Composite Dialogue with Pakistan, engage in fruitless dialogues with Pakistan on Kashmir and also take some steps to reduce deployments in J&K on the plea that Pakistan's proxy war and infiltration in J&K has reduced. All this would lead India to be equated with Pakistan in terms of strategic notoriety.

On the contrary, the United States possibly could not feel effectively assured that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if it comes into power in May 2009 would be as politically amenable to United States pressures to yield to what Pakistan desires. A new BJP Government despite the US pressures could be expected to be more hawkish on Pakistan much to United States discomfiture.

Dr Manmohan Singh's Congress Government has in the last five years been consistently been in a mode of appeasement towards Pakistan and unforgivably soft on Pakistan Army sponsored terrorism attacks against India. The Congress Government once again succumbed to US pressures to restrain from taking strong retaliatory actions against Pakistan after Mumbai 9/11 in November 2008.

No wonder, for reasons of strategic amenability to United States strategic policy priorities and a demonstrated political inclination towards that same end, a return of the Congress Government to power would suit US strategic ends.

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