Listen to Blackwill

May his tribe increase too

Robert Blackwill may not serving in the Bush administration anymore, but he remains a powerful advocate of a pro-India foreign policy. Excerpts from his op-ed piece (linkthanks Niket) in the Wall Street Journal.

So what next for the U.S.-India relationship?

The U.S. should integrate India into the evolving global nonproliferation regime as a friendly nuclear weapons state. We should end constraints on assistance to and cooperation with India’s civil nuclear industry and high-tech trade, changing laws and policy when necessary. We should sell India civil nuclear reactors, both to reduce its demand for Persian Gulf energy and to ease the environmental impact of India’s vibrant economic growth.

We should enter into a vigorous long-term program of space cooperation with India . Such a joint effort would capture the imagination of ordinary citizens in both countries. It is now anachronistic or worse for Washington to limit its interaction with India’s civil space efforts because of concern that U.S. technology and know-how will seep into India’s military missile program. Why should the U.S. want to check India’s missile capability in ways that could lead to China’s permanent nuclear dominance over democratic India ?

We should sell advanced weaponry to India . The million-man Indian army actually fights, unlike the postmodern militaries of many of our European allies. Given the strategic challenges ahead, the U.S. should want the Indian armed forces to be equipped with the best weapons systems and that often means American. To make this happen, the U.S. has to become a reliable long-term supplier, including through co-production and licensed manufacture arrangements, and to end its previous inclination to interrupt defense supplies to India in a crisis.

We should announce that in the context of the basic reform of the U.N., the U.S. will support India as a permanent member of the Security Council. Although this would not happen for many years, nothing else would so convince the people of India that the U.S. had truly transformed its approach to their country. At the same time, we should promote the early entry of India (and China) into the G-8. Their economic punch and increasing geopolitical reach demands that they be at the head table.

Finally, we should initiate an intense and secret discussion with India regarding the future of Pakistan, including contingency planning.[WSJ]

7 thoughts on “Listen to Blackwill”

  1. Looks like a good op-ed. The points about space, missile, and civillian nuclear technology are on the mark. But the problem with fully recognizing India as a “friendly nuclear weapons state” is that it opens the door for other countries to develop nuclear weapons with the belief that the world will eventually come to accept their nuclear capabilities. This goes back to my prior point about broken treaties and lost credibility. If India had gone nuclear a few years earlier, or the NPT signed a few years later, none of this would be a problem, of course.

    The UNSC issue is problematic mostly because India has such a long history of voting against the US at the UN. I think I read a column which put the frequency at above 80%. Granted, a lot of these votes came during the Cold War, but a voting histoty like that takes time to put aside.

  2. The problem with Indo-US ties is that for far too long we have put the cart in front. Fundamentally both the US and India stand for similar values – democracy and freedom. India has all the essential qualifications to be categorised as a “good guy” in the US, and in general US international concerns coincide with Indian concerns too. And yet we have all these years used a handful of fringe differences to to be angry at each other. While China drove the US towards India back in the 60’s, we let Pakistan drift us apart for so long after that.

    The need of the hour now is to put the differences into perspective and go ahead and let our ties improve on the strength of our many similarities.

  3. Kiran

    Here is part of the Economist’s article on India-US relations prior to Rice’s trip

    LIKE a novel where it is obvious from the outset that the two protagonists are meant for each other, but take hundreds of pages to get together, India and America should form a natural partnership yet are usually at odds. As Condoleezza Rice, America’s new secretary of state, started a tour of Asia in the Indian capital this week, the two countries were closer than ever to achieving their happy ending. Democracy’s superpower and its most populous nation are enjoying a honeymoon. But old bugbears remain, and some new ones have cropped up.

    For many Indians, however, these are nuances that do not undermine the secular trend of improving relations. Just as George Bush has been reaffirming America’s championing of free democracies around the world, India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has been redefining India’s role in the world. Last month he made a speech positioning India no longer as a leader of the third world, nor of cold-war non-alignment, but as “proud to identify with those who defend the values of liberal democracy and secularism across the world”. America, says Mr Subrahmanyam, faced with a challenge to its supremacy from a rising China, has no choice but to “bet on India”. In the long run, say India’s strategists, America needs India more than India needs it. Modesty has never played much part in Indian diplomacy.[The Economist]

  4. As long as we continue to base our relationship with the US on the premise that it will take care of pakistan and we would gain substancially on technology front, we will end up being disappointed. The US has always got away with what it wants by humouring us.If one sees commonality in political thought as a growing convergence we would be mistaken.Scratch the surface u would know the inner feeling on the indo -us relationship, at least in the official circles it is not very positive.

  5. It is not sudden, Mr Blackwill has always been with Indian govt ever since the Sep 11, 2001 attack. He even wrote an article “India – the natural ally’ in TOI in 2001.

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