March 31, 2013: In the past six months, passionate domestic politics have twice taken over India’s foreign policy process, complicating its relations with neighboring countries. The most recent case involved a resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which led an important coalition partner to leave the government. The earlier crisis, in September 2011, scuttled two major features of India’s proposed expansion of relations with Bangladesh. When India’s foreign policy becomes domestic, decisions tend to escalate, coalition politics intensify, and the fallout affects both politics and policy.Leave a reply
Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category
March 11, 2013: Pakistan lame-duck Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s brief private visit to India March 9 accomplished nothing of substance, but it put an unintended spotlight on the troubled state into which India-Pakistan relations have fallen in the past few months. The causes of the downturn are many and varied – trouble in Kashmir and along the Line of Control, concerns about post-2014 Afghanistan, a stalling of their encouraging trade opening, and perhaps most importantly impending elections in both countries. A State Department spokeswoman welcomed Ashraf’s visit and confirmed Washington’s interest in the two nations talking to one another. But such long-standing U.S. cheerleading from the sidelines is unlikely to have any meaningful impact. Significant progress seems unlikely until parliamentary elections are held in both countries, Pakistan’s this May, India’s probably in early 2014. Read moreLeave a reply
Indian Foreign Minister Krishna’s visit to Beijing is showcasing the positive in India-China relations. A recent visit to Beijing and Shanghai after a long absence gave us a more complicated picture of how the rise of India and China, so central to U.S. strategic thinking, looks from the east. India is taken more seriously in China than ten years ago, but is still not seen as an equal. The United States accepts India’s global ambitions; China dismisses them as “dreams.” China works best with India on global issues, the reverse of the U.S. experience, where bilateral ties are best and global collaboration weak.
Read our article published in The Hindu June 7, 2012.
April 10, 2012: Four months ago, Pakistani president Asif Zardari’s trip to Dubai for medical treatment sparked intense rumors of a military coup. Last weekend, Zardari lunched in Delhi with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and was photographed wearing a flamboyant turban at a renowned Sufi shrine at Ajmer in Rajasthan. What happened and what does it mean?
No one, least of all two longtime observers of the South Asia scene like us, expected to see India-Pakistan relations transformed by this Easter Sunday luncheon in New Delhi, the first meeting in a bilateral setting between the top leaders of India and Pakistan in seven years. But the brief summit session usefully highlighted the accelerating strengthening of ties over the past year or so. It also raised hopes that further progress can be achieved if the two sides persist in the sensible, unspectacular approach they have recently followed. Read moreLeave a reply
India and the United States have been at odds over nuclear issues for more than three decades, and yet both countries’ interests are powerfully affected by the spread of nuclear weapons. The Working Group on an Expanded Non- Proliferation System, chaired by Teresita Schaffer and Joan Rohlfing, President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, set out to answer the question, “What would be necessary to have India and the United States work together as active participants in the international non-proliferation system?” The working group, which consisted of a dozen members from India and the United States, with each group drawn about equally from nuclear experts and senior foreign policy figures, recommended bringing India into the four major multilateral export control groups; its report recommends a number of other ways to enhance India-U.S. cooperation and help protect the world from nuclear dangers.
Read full report on NTI web site.
Follow links to the group’s working papers. (click on drop-down menu at top of page)
Read summary of seminar on the report and next steps in reducing nuclear dangers, at Brookings, January 5, 2012.Leave a reply
During India’s first nine months on the Security Council, it has worked with the United States on broad themes but often differed on country-specific issues. Council membership has a price: many votes inevitably disappoint some of India’s constituencies and international friends.
Read our op-ed in The Hindu, October 8, 2011.Leave a reply
September 15, 2011: For diplomats like us, there are few things worse than a highly touted bilateral summit meeting between two friendly national leaders that at the last minute fails to meet either the expectations of the summiteers themselves or the inflated hopes of their publics. These setbacks are not supposed to happen. According to the “diplomatic rule book,” basic agreements are worked out in advance by subordinate officials. These are then ratified by the leaders, perhaps with minor changes. If major outstanding problems are not ironed out before the summit begins, as sometimes happens, the two government try to limit expectations, not to encourage them.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s September 6-7 visit to Bangladesh is a case study of a summit whose preparation didn’t follow these rules. Read moreLeave a reply
With more than a billion citizens, a thriving economy and a rapidly modernizing military, India is swiftly becoming a growing force in geopolitics. Teresita Schaffer explores the country’s complex relationships with its neighbors in Asia and the Persian Gulf and describes how the increased competitive pressures of its economy will force the United States to adapt.
Watch video on the Brookings Institution web site, August 5, 2011.Leave a reply
June 21, 2011: Peter Burleigh is just arriving in Delhi for his second stint in less than three years as the U.S. chargé d’affaires during what is expected to be a long interregnum between ambassadors. This is a useful time to reflect on how ambassadors figure in the shaping of U.S.-India ties, and how well both countries are tending the diplomatic side of their emerging relationship.Leave a reply
In its dealings with the United States, Pakistan starts from the threat it perceives from India and emphasises India’s shortcomings. It will continue to use the United States as a balancer, barring a major improvement in India-Pakistan relations.
This excerpt from our book describes on the basis of our experience and extensive interviews how we believe Pakistan looks on India and on U.S.-India relations, and how Pakistan expresses these views in its dealings with the United States. It’s a perspective many will not agree with or welcome, but it affects how Pakistan deals with both India and the United States.
Read an excerpt from our book, as first published in The Hindu on June 13, 2011.Leave a reply