Prof. Arindam Chaudhuri
Hony. Dean, Centre For Economic Research and Advanced Studies, IIPM -
It is not that Washington has done something like this for the first time. In fact, the US has got a checkered history of taking gratuitously arbitrary and insensitive stances, with a singular objective of fulfilling their own selfish motives. I’m referring to Obama’s recent trip to China and his most ridiculous statement of how China can play an important role in making the Indo-Pak relationship healthier. Not just this, Obama has clearly indicated a visible tilt towards China by offering to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together with China to promote peace, stability and development in that region!
Although US Presidents have had a sparkling history of purposefully committing such extravagant blunders (for selfindulgent American gain), Obama seems to surpass them all, as it has been extremely rare for any American President to acknowledge China as a harbinger of ‘peace’ in South Asia, and that too with respect to India and Pakistan! It is not that Obama is sophistically ignorant of Chinese adventures in Tibet, Taiwan and India. And after knowing what China has been doing, it is clearly insane for Obama to even acknowledge China’s role in the restoration of any kind of peace process in any region across the world! What is even more outrageous is the very fact that going by Obama’s apparent rational outlook, he should have ideally discussed the infringement of the Chinese in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, their perpetual intervention in the North-East region of India, their blatant aid and support to the Naxal movement in India, along with funding of Pakistan’s terror camps. Forget India, the least that was expected of him was to discuss China’s hostility towards Dalai Lama. None of these seemed to be there in Obama’s agenda.
Now the question that arises is why did Obama issue such artful statements? Why, all of a sudden, has China seemingly become so important that Obama has had to force a feel-good atmosphere by making such statements? There are two visible reasons that might have instigated Obama to issue such baseless statements. First, as I’ve written in one of my columns earlier, Obama’s popularity index is sliding down by the day. And amongst a host of other reasons – which includes health, employment and economic revival issues – one reason that has become a huge contention is American expenditure on Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, the Obama administration is struggling to mange the investments to send 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, which is an imperative now as the jihadi and Taliban forces have become extremely active, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But given the current economic environment, it is becoming extremely challenging for Obama’s administration to send these troops to Afghanistan. And Obama knows that China can be hugely instrumental in stabilizing Afghanistan. Just like his diplomatic and self-serving predecessors, Obama’s tilt towards China is nothing else but an effort towards laying down a red carpet to them to contribute towards stabilizing Afghanistan. Now, the second reason – US also knows that if there is one nation which has the might to contain North Korea and Iran (who are ravaging a nuclear campaign against US), it is none other than China! So what difference does it make to Obama if by making a couple of pleasing statements, he can bargain Chinese support, which in turn de-stresses the American economy both politically and financially? What more, even American citizens are happy, as they never could make any sense of either Iraq or Afghanistan! How does it matter what happens to an India or a Pakistan, when dividends are so high for America?
Obama’s statements have not gone down well with New Delhi.Historically, India has always opposed any third-party intervention in the Indo-Pak issue, which we all know has to do with only Kashmir. And rightly so, for Kashmir has been an age-old issue, which is core to India. Nobody in the world can sensitize with Kashmir more than us, for we have been living with its problems, which has only exacerbated over the last two decades! It is also true that as a nation, we have not been able to resolve the issue for a very long time, and it has been a drain to our exchequer. But then, recently, there have been some developments on that front as well. In the last three weeks, there have been two meetings between former Pakistan High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan and RAW chief A S Dullat. According to news reports, the Track II initiatives between India and Pakistan could hopefully lead to a reasonable outcome on the issue. And even if that does not happen at this point in time, it definitely would in times to come. But that in no way means that a third party – and that too one with a character of China – needs to intervene in this process, further instigated by the manipulative diplomacy of the US.
When Obama was elected as President of the United States, I was very happy, for I could see a new hope in him. And I wrote extensively about him in my editorials, praising him. I keenly listened to his speeches and believed that if one man could change the current world order, it had to be him! While I had always expected double standards from Obama’s immediate predecessor, George W Bush (who always lived up to my expectations), I never did so from Obama. But after what he Obama has done in China, I feel he is no different!