Barack Obama, has created history twice. Four years ago he was the first African American to become the president of the US. Today he became only the 14th president in more than 200 years of the country’s history to win two or more terms in office. Indian media this time is not exulting in his victory as was the case four years ago but speculating about what does this victory mean for the sub-continent.
It’s clear from presidential debates that both, Romney or Obama have no love lost for Pakistan. Obama’s assertion that, if he had sounded Pakistan about operation to take out Osama, it would have been jeopardised, showed a level of distrust with the old ally. However, it’s not that India has charmed the US in seeing foreign policy from our perspective. It’s the changing needs of the US that have led to the change in attitude in the State Department.
The US sees China as a bigger threat to its political, military and economic dominance and thus the entire focus is shifting towards Asia Pacific region. Here the US has three traditional allies – Japan, South Korea and Philippines. However, Japan its most trusted ally, is suffering from two decade long economic stagnation and South Korea as well as Philippines don’t have the size to match China and its might. India in this case is of great advantage to the US. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already aired her views that she sees India playing a major role in the Asia Pacific region in the 21st century.
The US understands that India with her demographic and geographic size, economic potential and strategic location vis-e-viz Asia Pacific can play a pivotal role in containing China. India enjoys deep cultural, historical and political relations with all the countries in ASEAN and Asia Pacific and the US feels if India can leverage this historical advantage it would be an effective bulwark against an assertive China. This is the reason it is projecting and cultivating India with a sense of urgency. This shift has in fact been in works since US’s announcement of winding down their operations in Afghanistan.
In the changed geo-political scenario India holds more promise than Pakistan. As the old British saying goes, “there are no permanent friends or foes, only permanent interests”. US interests in 21st century would be better served by being closer to India than Pakistan. So whether its Obama or Romney the die is already cast in the State Department – wind down relation with Pakistan, warm up to India.
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