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Barack Obama yielded little, gained more
US President’s backing for Indian UN ambition a mere political statement | It may take India years before it clinches berth | US deviated from traditional stance by offering mediation on Kashmir, nudging Delhi for serious talks with Pakistan | 50,000 jobs for Americans a clever deal

By Salim Bokhari

Since US President Barack Obama landed on the Indian soil and till his departure to Indonesia, the oft asked question is, whether India has ended being a gainer or the situation stands where it was before the visit? In Pakistan, diplomats, intellectuals, politicians and television anchors have been offering their own versions.
Two factors are very clear. President Obama visited India as probably the weakest American president as compared to his five predecessors. His visit took place after his Democrat Party lost mid-term elections in the wake of recent international recession that has largely marred the American economy. Therefore, it would not be a wrong observation that the nature of his Indian ‘yatra’ was purely of economic nature aimed at tapping a big market.
Although the secret wish list of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been leaked and is now available at the website Rediff.com. “As US President Barack Obama begins his New Delhi leg of the tour, the Indian side has already prepared its brief. So once the photo ops and the customary niceties end, India will bring up the real issues. Understandably, the issues are contentious and it is unlikely that any firm resolutions will emerge during the current meet.
“In fact six major secret issues have already been detailed for discussion between the two sides. These issues range from terrorism to proliferation and even high technology. But sources within the Government tell TIMES NOW that the Government is looking at the steps as building block for a solid relationship in the future.”
President Obama played clever, during his address to the Indian Parliament, when he assured India of US support for New Delhi’s bid to secure permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. His announcement was received with great warmth as if the seat has been offered on a gold platter. This is not as simple as it sounds. India would be able to occupy this seat after the UN reforms agenda is implemented in letter and spirit and that is not going to happen tomorrow; it may take years.
Besides this, People’s Republic of China is dead against the very thought of bringing India to the global stage. Many other states, including Pakistan, are also against such an eventuality till India resolves sensitive issues, including Kashmir. New Delhi has a border dispute with Beijing and its ties with all its neighbouring states in South Asia are far from being ideal.
Secondly, Obama played very safe in his remarks about Pakistan. Not only this, he tried to make the Indian leadership realise that stable Pakistan was in India’s best interest. He rather advised Manmohan Singh to take a course of dialogue with Islamabad to settle all other issues which are bottlenecks in normalising ties between the two South Asian key players.
Thirdly, on Kashmir too, Obama deviated from the traditional American stance and said the United States would be willing to play the role of a mediator if both the sides so desired. Previous stance of the US administration has been that since the Kashmir was a regional dispute, it should be resolved bilaterally by the two sides.
Manmohan Singh, while responding to Obama’s remarks, appeared the most miserable character when he referred to Kashmir as a ‘K’ factor. It demonstrates the hollowness of the Indian leadership that they shy away from an issue pestering for the past over 60 years.At the same time, it was astonishing to note that President Obama, whose heart bleeds for human rights violations anywhere in the world, acted as if nothing was happening in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Diplomatic observers here, however, draw similarities between the US leader’s attitude on Kashmir and Palestine, where innocent people are being subjected to similar state-sponsored terrorism.
The observers further say that the voices of Kashmiri leaders are falling on deaf ears of the American leadership. The Kashmiris have long been demanding their right to self-determination provided by the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the organisation India dreams of joining as a permanent member.
President Barack Obama’s reference that stable Pakistan is in the wider interest of India has double-edged meanings. By this he meant that if extremists gain grounds in Pakistan, India would no longer be a peaceful entity either.
Obama very rightly said that the US ties with Pakistan were of strategic importance. Impliedly, he meant that Pakistan alone could ensure a safe exit to the American and NATO forces from Afghanistan. The Americans appeared to have realised that even if dialogue is to be initiated with the Taliban, it could only be possible with courtesy of Islamabad.
The extremist Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party did not mince words when it came out with a harsh statement while Obama was still in India, saying that the American president’s assertions about Pakistan were far too short of its expectation.
Diplomatic sources, choosing anonymity, confided to The Daily Mail that what President Obama said in India was similar to Washington’s known stance and there was nothing that has shocked the Foreign Office. They further said that it would not be long when the Indian leadership would realise that Obama has given them nothing, but has secured over 50,000 jobs for the Americans.
They went on to say that in fact Obama over-boasted India’s role at the world stage in an attempt to send signal to China. This he did because the United States has long been concerned about China’s increasing influence in the regional and global issues. Washington is also aware of the fact that Beijing, being a permanent member of the Security Council and having Veto powers, would not easily allow India to take a berth at the global body.

 
 
 
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