To elucidate the students about the changing equations of the Indo-US relationship, a special lecture was organized by the Department of Political Science on the topic, “Indo-US Relations: Perspectives and challenges,” by Dr. Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow, Observe Research Foundation, Delhi; and Prof. Chintamani Mahaprata, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University on Tuesday, 27th August 2013.
Prof. Badrul Alam, Head, Department of Political Science initiated the special lecture and introduced the speakers. Dr. Manoj Joshi said that the key point about Indo-US relationship is its asymmetrical nature. “We often do not understand about this asymmetry. US (United States) is and will be a hegemonic power while as India is large populous poor South Asian country,” said Dr. Joshi. He said the real power and influence of United States is much bigger as far as India is concerned which leads to asymmetrical relationship, which is problematic.
“On the other hand, the sweep of this relationship is extremely impressive,” said Dr. Joshi. After independence, the United States opened the gates of higher Education institutions and then helped India undertake the Green Revolution. “United States played a key role in training our scientists. In fact, US provided India Small Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor, thus helping India in its nuclear pursuits. They may not acknowledge it today but they provided an intellectual capital for a variety of security projects,” he said.
Dr. Joshi further said that the relationship has not been very comfortable. “They (United States) resorted to off shore balancing. They were involved with Pakistan to balance off India,” he said. Dr. Joshi also said that United States has a very peculiar kind of relationship with Pakistan. “Unless and until we have a certainty about the nature of that relationship, India has to be careful.”
Further he said that the big Shift, however, occurred with the collapse of Soviet Union and the rise of China. “India talks of Strategic Autonomy and NAM 2.0. They are defensive concepts at least in practice. Can New Delhi’s approach be to stay clear of all conflicts?” He said that tendency with New Delhi is to be with no one.
Dr. Joshi said that India should use United States as an ally to be a better country; to create jobs, to eliminate poverty and have a better infrastructure just as China did.
Prof. Chintamani Mahaprata on the other hand, talked about how Indo-US Relationship has changed in the last six decades.
He quoted several examples. “Once we were non-aligned with a tilt to Soviet Union but today we talk about strategic partnership with United States. For a quiet few decades United States had imposed nuclear sanctions on India but today we have a nuclear cooperation agreement. India was once a G-77 member and today both India and US are part of G-20,” he said. Dr. Mahaprata said that interaction process has increased tremendously between US and India.
“The systematic fluidity of the international system is a major challenge to Indo-US relationship… How India and United states will handle the new emerging superpower China?” The other challenges, he said, are Islamic World, global commerce, outer space and other bilateral issues. “In certain areas, India and US are together but at certain points they differ,” he said.
He further said that the amount of Indian investment in the US is almost equal to the US investment in India, “But it is nothing compared to China-US economic relationships.” Dr. Mahaprata then spoke about the future of the Indo-US Relationship. “In coming years one major challenge is the impact of withdrawal of US from Afghanistan. Second one is the strategy of ‘Pivot to Asia’. India is going to be a lynchpin in the American strategy of balancing in Asia but many countries particularly China are reading many negative things about this concept and that will create a new kind of tension,” he said. He further said that India is not sure what kind of role it can play.
After the special lecture, an interactive question-answer session followed.