Tuesday, December 21, 2004

India and the Bush Doctrine

According to this excellent article by Raja Mohan, Professor of South Asian studies at the Jawarhalal Nehru University in New Delhi, US-India relations have never been better at the same time the US has cultivated strong ties with Pakistan post 9-11.

Why? New Delhi shares Bush's worldview that they do not want to be dictated to by an unelected group of supranational bureaucrats and appreciates a US view that they are a major player in Asian affairs. Excerpts:

While Europe continues to hold its nose at the decisive triumph of George W. Bush, the Indian establishment is quietly savoring the outcome of the recent elections in America. India and Europe, one might say, have traded places in the global arena. India, once nonaligned, used to be the first to throw stones at Washington on any issue during the Cold War; today, it sees America as a natural ally. Europe, on the other hand, now speaks the language of "nonalignment," and holds that nothing is ever right with U.S. foreign policy.

There is a straightforward explanation for India's enthusiasm for the Bush administration. New Delhi has transacted more political business with Washington in the past four years than in the previous four decades. After nearly half a century of estrangement, India and the U.S. rapidly drew closer during the first Bush term. Whether it is the commitment to the war against terrorism or the exploration of missile defense, Mr. Bush has found a partner in Delhi.

...But most important for New Delhi is the strategic decision by the Bush administration to view India as an emerging global power and a potential partner in the management of the global order. For earlier administrations, India was merely a part of a political nuisance in South Asia. The perceived nuclear flashpoint in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the broader conflict with Pakistan were the only issues that drew American political attention to India. New Delhi also acknowledges that the Bush administration, despite America's renewed dependence on Pakistan after 9/11, has not dropped the ball on relations with India...

There is a deeper philosophy that has united India and the U.S. in the last four years: They both are revisionist powers. Well before Sept. 11, 2001, and more clearly after, the Bush administration saw the need for a new set of rules for managing the emerging threats to international security. The tools and doctrines of the Yalta system had outlived their utility and had to be recast, the Bush administration concluded. India could not agree more.
Very few countries in the world share the Bush administration's contempt for the U.N. when it comes to maintenance of international security. India is one of them.
Much like American conservatives who believe that U.S. national security is too important to be left to consensus politics in Turtle Bay, India underlines the fact that peace and stability in the Subcontinent cannot be left to the mercy of the U.N. Security Council...Like the Bush administration, New Delhi does not want to cede national control over decisionmaking on war and peace to unelected bureaucrats in a "supranational" U.N.
Given its firm commitment to national sovereignty, India, not surprisingly, also found itself with the Bush administration in the global debate on the International Criminal Court. The examples of Indo-U.S. political convergence during Bush years abound--including counterproliferation strategies, and pre-emption against terrorist groups and states.

Having been the biggest victim of terrorism sponsored against it by a nuclear-armed Pakistan over the last 15 years, India had little difficulty in understanding the imperatives of Mr. Bush after 9/11. And with its 150 million Muslims, India has a big stake in the success of Mr. Bush's project for the modernization and democratization of the Islamic Middle East.
But in defining a new world order, Mr. Bush will have to move away from the traditional American emphasis on the Euro-Atlantic world and recognize the power shift to Asia. New Delhi would surely stand with Mr. Bush in the configuration of a new global equilibrium, one that takes into account the return of India to the center stage of global affairs.

No comments: