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India : Diplomacy

The art of diplomacy


What India can learn from the US on the diplomatic ground
AKRAM HOQUE | Issue Dated: October 17, 2010, New Delhi
Tags : india | united states | china | barack obama | manmohan singh | afghanistan | diplomacy |

Italian diplomat Daniele Vare once said, “Diplomacy is the art of letting the other party have things your way.” It is applicable between nations as much as at the individual level. On the diplomatic ground, US has been quite successful both in terms of handling world affairs as well as controlling or convincing China, Iran or Afghanistan. But India, despite being an economic giant and military power, has been struggling all the way.  

India’s relation with the US has always been balanced, however, totally based on interests. For example, only when India became a nuclear power that the US started giving India strategic importance and initiated diplomatic dialogues – a similar case with Korea, Iran, Pakistan and so one. However, a glimpse of US diplomacy can be seen from the incidences surrounding the announcements of Obama’s upcoming state visit to India. Since the US presidential election, Obama’s win was perceived to be a concern for India. From his anti-outsourcing remarks to anti-immigration and protectionist economic policies, everything invited enough criticism. Even his anti-India remarks often angered many. But India became an utmost priority for the Obama administration after the Indian PM visited the US. And also because of his diplomatic failure with China, Iran and Afghanistan. As Obama announced his visit to India in June, 2010, the US Government started coming up with news and reports in praise of India and its leaders. The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith coalition awarded Indian PM, Manmohan Singh the 2010 World Statesman Award. Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State praised "Dr Singh" for his leadership on this occasion and urged to help US in its diplomatic role in Asia. The next move certainly was more interesting. A US Government report ranked India as the third most influential power after US and China and fourth influential bloc only after US and China and Europe. It did not end there. Robert Blake, the Assistant Secretary of the State for South and Central Asia mentioned, “A new poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, shows that Americans have an increasingly favourable view of India, and Americans increasingly favour a free trade agreement with India,” at the 27th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture in California. Well timed; well said!

While US has started praising India and some of its leaders that matter to it, the nation has also been tactfully pushing its agendas including the finalisation of the defence deal worth $11 billion. Still there is no reason to distrust the US. Henry Kissinger once said, “Diplomacy: the art of restraining power!” The US understands it very well; does India?
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017