Tuesday, March 14, 2006

UAE, America, and India

This blogger just concluded a weekend business trip to the UAE.

Even as the Emirates have boomtown written all over them, they feel very much like the last time we were there in the 80s. Modern, cosmopolitan, even progressive by regional standards. Extremely impressive stuff.

There was a puzzling inconsistency, however. Of all our favorite blogs, The Acorn strangely was blocked in the country for "content inconsistent with UAE values". Not clear what has provoked this.

Finally, last week saw the US Congress snub President Bush on the latter's support for a port deal with a UAE company. This is a reflection of the very weak domestic position of the President. The implications for the Indo-US deal are worrisome.

There will be much pressure on India to negotiate the deal all over again with the Congress. India ought to resist this. The strategic value of India is not a function of how strong or weak the US President is domestically. It is not for India to cede more ground on an already tough deal -- rather for the US Congress to raise its vision beyond petty political concerns in an election year.

If the US Congress insists on imposing unacceptable new conditions on the deal, India should walk. The loss is India's for sure, but much more so for the US. If America's Opportunity With India is as we and the Bush administration sees it, US will have to come back to the table -- sooner or later.

If, instead, India opened up the negotiations again, there is no end to the kind of concessions that will be asked of us. Let's hope for sanity in the US Congress -- if not, let's prepare to walk away.

4 comments:

libertarian said...

PR: You're probably referring to Dubai and Sharjah. The UAE as a whole is probably still a 50% oil-supported economy. Can they get their "Singapore" act together in time for decreasing oil revenues?

Primary Red said...

Even staid Abu Dhabi is hopping. Dubai, of course, is on steroids -- clearly one of the most exciting cities in the world today.

Best regards

Anonymous said...

All citizens of the US should write to their Senators and Representative to support the Indo-US nuclear deal. The diaspora should not allow the deal to flounder in Congress or let it set unacceptable conditions.

A.N said...

Not sure why the 'Acorn' site is blocked by the firewall of the American MNC that I work for! I can access most of the other India-centric blogs. fistfulofeuros.net is also blocked. Seems rather illogical.

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