US Urges India for Asia-Pacific Leadership

Brig Zaheerul Hassan

On 20 July, this year, while addressing an audience of students, opinion-makers and other citizens of South India at the Anna Centenary Library Chennai, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton desired that India should lead Asia Pacific and Asia. In this regard, she further said that the US urged India to “be more assertive and play the proactive role of a leader in Asia and also to shape the future of the Asia-Pacific in 21st century.” The question arises whether Hillary Clintons’ dream of portraying India as future Asian leader would be materialized and prove true or otherwise would be proved as her“daydreaming”. In fact, American leadership probably is habitual of seeing daydreams and normally forgets the presence of others global, regional nuclear and economic powers like Russia, China, Korea, Japan and Pakistan. Hillary probably failed to memorize that China is that economic power which in 2008 provided 700 billion US dollars as rescue plan to bail out troubled American’s banks in order to stabilize America including global financial markets and to restore investors’ confidence on the crumbled economy of the United States.

But on contrary to it on Jan 6, 2010, the US Defense Department announced the approval of a plan of Lockheed Martin Corp. to sell Patriot III missiles to Taiwan. Although it was a step to implement the huge-scale arms sales package announced by the George W. Bush administration in October 2008, yet such a move has been carried out by the US authorities just one month after Barack Obama’s visit to China which of course tarnished the Sino-US ties. As a matter of fact, American side is fully aware that the Taiwan issue is related to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and involves China’s vital interests and the national sentiments of 1.3 billion Chinese people. On that moment, China reacted strongly to the US administration’s $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan stating that relations between the two countries would be greatly impaired. In this respect, in an angry tone Chinese’s concerned official remarked that it would punish certain US companies with sanctions, which were involved in the arms sale to Taiwan. He also indicated that it would “partially” stop bilateral military exchange programs with the Washington as well as halt talks on strategic security, arms control and non-proliferation which were scheduled to take place soon.

Here, I would also like to mention about President Obama’s visit to India when in 2010, he announced $10 billion trade deals with India and claimed that the deal will create 53,670 U.S. jobs. He brought some of the changes in export rules to make it easier for U.S. companies to do business with the nation of 1.2 billion people. US is also relaxing control on India’s purchase of “dual use” technologies which could be used for civilian or military purposes—have been top priorities for the business community. The commercial deals include the purchase of thirty three (33) 737s Boeing by India’s Spice Jet Airlines, the Indian military’s plans to buy aircraft engines from General Electric, and preliminary agreement between Boeing and the Indian Air Force on the purchase of 10 C17s. Indian has also been promised that U.S. and her allies like U.K and France will support Indian permanent membership in UN Security Council.

It is pity on American and western allies that a country being supported for UN security council membership which has multiple external problems like water disputes, border issues with the neighbouring countries in addition to her domestic security, ethnic and human rights violations against Sikhs, Maoists and Kashmiries. It is also added here that 155 nuclear proliferation cases have been registered so far in India which is a record in world history.

Now again in 2011, in another move US Secretary of State during her visit to “New Delhi’ and at the occasion of ASEAN Summit, has tried to pitch India against China while declaring India as potential regional leader of Asia Pacific. In this context, Ms. Clinton gave a clear message to Beijing: don’t get too big for your britches because not only are we still around but we have a partner who can lead other regional states in a coalition to oppose your hegemonic ambitions. All this clearly shows that US without deputing India as her watchdog is not interested to flee away from this region. She might also delay her exit plan from Afghanistan. Therefore, there is a need to devise some strategy to counter American and Indian joint venture which may push the world in “Third Global War’. Therefore, it is suggested that China and other regional partners should reconsider the status of India and America since both these countries are striving hard for their hegemony over Asia and Asia-Pacific region which definitely would not be acceptable to others members countries.

It is mentionable that Pakistan also showed concerns over Hillary Clinton’s recent statement. In this connection on Jul 24, 2011 newly appointed, world youngest foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, while addressing the journalists at Lahore air Port Said that bilateral ties and not a one-sided relation with the US is required. She also categorically stated that Pakistan requires that worlds support, but at the same time stated that the country will not accept anyone’s hegemony in the region.

Notably, American leadership always behaves immaturely prior to Indian visit. For example on July 19, 2011 Kashmiri leader Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, has been arrested by the FBI and declared his connection with ISI. The American and Indian intelligence agency have deliberately launched a joint media campaign against ISI. In that, they claimed that Mr., FAI and Osama bin Laden might have the same ISI handlers but in reality Mr. Ghulam Nabi was fighting for the restoration of human rights in Kashmir which have been acknowledged by UNO in 1954. In most of the think tanks and opinion builders circle, the arrest of KAC’s leader has been taken as Hillary Clinton’s gift to India. Kashmiri masses all over the globe have condemned Mr. Fai’s arrest and demanded his release and liberation of Kashmir under UN Resolutions. In fact the arrest of innocent Kashmiri leader reflects the true face of so called American democracy and civilized society.

It is also notable that a bill regarding aid to Islamabad though rejected. but was moved in the Congress during Hillary Clinton’s stay in New Delhi where she demanded that Pakistan should try the culprits of Mumbai attack. Interestingly, the culprits of Mumbai attack has been either killed or already behind the bar in Indian Jails. The timing itself dictates the motives behind the presentation of the bill in the congress, which simply means undue pressure tactics on Pakistan and pleasing Indian leadership on all cost. At the end, I must say that U.S. if interested in “one to one” relationship with Pakistan then she has to mend her ways, forego double standards, minimizing undue Indian role in Afghanistan, stop supporting separatists’ movements in Balochistan and condemned Indian nuclear proliferation policies and hegemonic design. She has to reconsider the policy of global war on terror because negotiations with Taliban are only the solution. At the end I will say that U.S. should pay some attention to improve her economy rather than instigating India just for the sake of capturing a huge market to meet her ultimate objectives.

About Marc Brentwood

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