Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

India and the Nonproliferation System

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.

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India and US at UN: A Complicated Dance

Photo from flickr,

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.

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Bangladesh-India: Great Expectations, Limited Results

Photo by Justin Brockie,

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 more

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India as a Rising Power

Gurgaon. Photo by seaview 99,

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.

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Changing the Guard at the U.S. Embassy in Delhi

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.

  Read more

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Riding the Roller Coaster: Excerpt – Dealing with India in the US-Pakistan Relationship

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.

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India and the U.S. Moving Closer on Afghanistan?

The U.S. and India are getting more interested in negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. Their evolving policies could benefit from closer U.S.-India consultations, and from back-channel India-Pakistan talks on Afghanistan.

Read the full article, first published in The Hindu, June 1, 2011.

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India-Pakistan: Is there Life After Cricket?

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April 1, 2011: “Cricket Diplomacy” was the buzzword of the week in India and Pakistan as the national teams of the two countries squared off in the World Cup semifinals at Mohali, a town in the Indian Punjab conveniently close to the Pakistani border. The Indian and Pakistani media have been crammed with commentary debating how this shared sporting enthusiasm they inherited from the British Raj could forward their recently revived bilateral dialogue. Much was made of the fact that Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had accepted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s invitation to be his guest at the event.

Americans, most of whom find cricket as unfathomable as it is tedious, are likely to wonder what all the fuss was about. Even those of us who have spent long innings in cricket-addicted South Asian countries Read more

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India’s Global Challenges

Howard and Teresita Schaffer spoke to the Emerging India Summit at Emory University about India’s global and regional challenges, February 24-25, 2011.

See video recording.

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New Delhi’s New Outlook

A review essay by Teresita C. Schaffer of four books about Indian foreign policy: Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy, by Rajiv Sikri; India’s Foreign Policy: The Democracy Dimension, by S.D. Muni; The Long View from Delhi: To Define the Indian Grand Strategy for Foreign Policy, by Raja Menon and Rajiv Kumar; and In the National Interest: A Strategic Foreign Policy for India, by Rajiv Kumar and Santosh Kumar.

A few elements are common to all these snapshots of India’s foreign policy. The first is India’s desire to dominate its immediate neighbourhood. How it interprets the requirement for continued primacy has changed, seen most notable in the conclusion that a regular American presence in the Indian Ocean serves India’s interests (a conclusion Sikri might question). But whether or not an author places the troubled relationship with Pakistan at the top of India’s foreign-policy challenges, in all four studies, India’s determination to retain great-power status in South Asia is not open to serious question.

Originally published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in the December 2010-January 2011 issue of Survival. Read the entire essay.

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