Dumb charade

Seldom has Indian leadership beseeched the US as in recent days


Ajay Singh | April 13, 2010

For the past one decade, the focus of India's engagement with the United states has always been on de-hyphenation of Pakistan. If the complex diplomatic jargon is to be simplified, we are made to understand that the United States accord us greater status in the comity of nations. And there have been ample instances when Indian political leadership has shown its grit in standing up to pressures of the US.

Just after the Kargil war, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee refused to go to the US while a cowering Pakistani prime minister was summoned before President Bill Clinton for his misadventure in Himalayan hills. There was nothing secret when Pakistan ordered withdrawal of its forces from Kargil under the US pressure. Before Vajpayee, too, Indian leaders ranging from Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi to VP Singh never beseeched “big brother US” for succour.

However, signals emanating from Washington shatter confidence in Indian leadership on this count. On the face of it, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seems to be egging on Barack Obama to restrain Pakistan and accord India a greater priority in its Af-Pak policy. Though Obama seems to be enjoying his unenviable position, he seems to be conducting a well-rehearsed dumb charade which can please all. He is pulling up Pakistan for India's consolation but refusing to commit himself on India's role in Afghanistan. He is also maintaining a studied ambiguity on the nuclear deal with Pakistan.

This is not to suggest that a nation can prove its strength by staying away from talks, negotiations and international conference. On the  contrary, a nation that engages with the world and superpowers with ease and on its own terms command respect of the international comity. India, unfortunately, is seen to be bracketed with Pakistan thanks to our diplomacy.



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