Hillary Clinton’s Visit to India

An article by Teresita C. Schaffer on Hillary Clinton’s 2009 visit with the newly elected Indian government.

Her main objective was to give the Obama administration and the newly elected Indian government “ownership” of a relationship that both consider vitally important. She certainly did that, with a four-day blitz of high-profile media and serious official meetings. She hit all the high points that she had defined as “pillars” of the relationship, engaging with business leaders and showcasing visits to one of India’s premier women’s development organizations and to India’s first environmentally certified building. She signed two important new agreements, a Technical Safeguards Agreement permitting U.S.-licensed components to be used on Indian civilian spacecraft, and an agreement creating a $30-million endowment to fund science, technology, and innovation. The Indian government settled the end-use monitoring arrangements needed to permit major military sales from the United States and pledged to designate two sites for U.S. companies to build nuclear facilities. She launched a strategic dialogue with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna, which should be the instrument for more serious consultations on foreign policy issues, including both regional issues affecting South and East Asia and the big global issues that will shape the future of the world.

Originally published July 23, 2009 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Critical Questions. Read the entire article.

India and the United States in the 21st Century: Reinventing Partnership

Written by Teresita C. Schaffer and published by the Center for Strategic & International Studies in June 2009.

The U.S. has emerged as India’s most important international ally. Starting in the mid-1990s, the U.S. and India did a remarkable job of adding substance to their rather thin Cold War-era relationship. The bilateral infrastructure for a serious partnership is now largely in place. The two countries have done much less, however, to turn their shared international interests—such as peace and security in the Indian Ocean and East Asia, stability in the Persian Gulf, and the integrity of energy markets—into a common bond. Moreover, they have had a hard time working together multilaterally. Of the four big global issues the Obama administration is focusing on, financial reform offers good opportunities for India-U.S. Collaboration, but the other three—trade negotiations, climate change, and nonproliferation—expose policy gaps between the two countries.

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Indian edition published by Indian Research Press.

Partnering with India: Regional Power, Global Hopes

A chapter written by Teresita C. Schaffer in Strategic Asia 2008-09: Challenges and Choices, edited by Ashley J. Tellis, Mercy Kuo and Andrew Marble.

With a booming economy, an increasingly trade-driven foreign policy, an expanding footprint both in Asia and on the global scene, and strong relations with the great powers, India’s strategic horizon is generally positive. The U.S. is India’s most important outside friend, and the new relationship between the two countries is based on important common interests, especially in Asia and in Indian Ocean security. Yet at the same time India’s foreign policy outlook rests on a strong political commitment to “strategic autonomy”—avoiding even the appearance of undue outside, and especially U.S., influence on its policy. U.S. experience with partnerships, however, involves mainly working with junior partners. This disconnect complicates the task of developing the U.S.-India partnership.

Published by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Read the entire chapter.

U.S.-India Nuclear Deal

An article by Teresita C. Schaffer on the halted nuclear deal between the United States and India.

Closer relations with the United States have been a fact of life for a decade and are a centerpiece of India’s post–Cold War foreign policy, supported by virtually all major political parties. The bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement (“123 Agreement”) that India and the United States announced on July 27, 2007, was a move toward implementing their civilian nuclear deal and was greeted with jubilation inside both governments. Surveys suggested that it was also popular with ordinary Indians. Political opposition, however, soon arose in India.

The killer objections came from the leftist parties, part of the parliamentary majority but not formally part of the Indian government. The ideological leadership of the Communist Party of India–Marxist (CPM), the largest party within the left, has not been part of this consensus, sounding the alarm bells about the danger of India’s foreign policy becoming subservient to that of the United States. “Strategic autonomy,” perhaps the most emotive foreign policy issue in India, has wide political resonance.

Originally published October 31, 2007 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Critical Questions. Read the entire article.

India at 60: The India-U.S. Nuclear Deal on Hold

An article by Teresita C. Schaffer on India’s decision to put the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement on hold.

The bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement (“123 Agreement”) India and the United States announced July 27, 2007 was a move towards implementing their civilian nuclear deal, and was greeted with jubilation inside both governments. Surveys suggested that it was popular with ordinary Indians. But it faced political explosions in India. Of the three Indian groups that had expressed concerns about the deal, one, the nuclear establishment, pronounced itself satisfied with the 123 Agreement. The other two went into rising choruses of opposition. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which many believe would happily have accepted the same deal had it been in power, objected on grounds that it might place restrictions on India’s nuclear arsenal.

Originally published in the Center for Strategic & International StudiesSouth Asia Monitor on October 26, 2007. Read the entire article.