Friday, December 23, 2005

Tough Talk In Washington

We caught yesterday, on C-SPAN, foreign secretary Shyam Saran discussing Indo-US relations at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

Quite a tough talker Mr. Saran is.

We must say that his performance did not appear intended to win friends and influence people. Rather, it was a very muscular presentation of India's perspective.

This leaves us a bit concerned.

If India's top diplomat is anything but diplomatic, either this reflects a conscious decision to engage in blunt talk or is the routine manner in which South Block practices its art these days. Neither seems sensible to us.

Washington is a tough place to get things done in the best of times -- with President Bush having difficulty with his own domestic agenda these days, it's not clear how much political capital he has to burn on getting the India nuclear deal. This means India needs to be especially careful on who it ticks off inside the beltway.

Hopefully, our sour impression is overdone and Mr. Saran succeeds in his mission.

4 comments:

Abhi said...

His video can be find here http://www.c-span.org/VideoArchives.asp?CatCodePairs=,&ArchiveDays=100&Page=2

indianpatriot said...

I believe Saran's approach was right eventhough it was little late in coming. The US establishment ( I agree with Bharath Karnad that US thinks it is a god's gift to humanity and it will act as a civilizing force to rest of humanity which as an Indian living in America for me hard to take. Let us recall last secretary of state Madeline Albright's statement that we are an indispensable nation). I believe India should not give anything in return for this nuclear deal (opening of Cirrus and fast breeder nuclear reactor). I take Conservate or Neo Conservative Indian position(which has nothing in common with Neoconservatives in Washington who want Kashmir to merge with Pakistan and India to be stripped of its nuclear weapons) that should have a strong nuclear deterrent backed up by a triad including ICBMS to deter China or US as the need arises.

cynical nerd said...

PR: You should note the audience which included all the non-proliferation ayotollahs (NPA) viz David Albright, George Petrovich etc. I guess they need to be shown the stick. Dr. MMS was there earlier with the carrots. FYI, these are the same crooks who turned a blind eye on AQ Khan and the later Chinese proliferation to Pakistan.

Ultimately, this deal will happen sooner or later on India's terms. India can very well manage by burning more coal/natural gas till it masters FBR tech (which no one else has done). By that time, the eco-conscious Europeans will come running with their nuclear/clean energy tech to stop the 1 billion Indians emitting CO2! IMO, Europe (France for nuclear and Germany for renewable energy) has much more to offer on the table.

Primary Red said...

Maybe you all are right -- given the audience this might have been the right attitude.

Still, if we were an unrelated observer -- say an American citizen -- we would not have been impressed by India's case. That's not useful at all.

That's all we are saying.

Best regards.

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