|Friendship of circumstance: Why the US-India love affair may fail|
Article in the influential Foreign Policy magazine says it is not yet time for the US and India to raise their champagne glasses
WASHINGTON DC: Barbara Crossette, writing in the latest issue of Foreign Policy, an award-winning magazine by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has said that though India is the flavour of the month in the US, the reality is that the two democracies have very little in common and a lot to pull them apart.
The author of the piece, foreign policy commentator and former Chief South Asia Correspondent for the New York Times, Barbara Crossette, gives five reasons why the US-India love affair - centred around the nuclear deal - may not work. The US and India are not natural allies, she says, because it is a friendship of circumstance.
"It was not until the collapse of its champion and friend, the Soviet Union, that Delhi saw reasons to improve ties dramatically with the United States," Crossette writes in the piece titled 'India: Think Again'.
"Though the world's most populous democracy seems to be increasingly in sync with free-market American thinking, India's interests often conflict with those of the United States. Consider India's relationship with Iran... Iran and India reached a "strategic partnership" in 2003, cementing the "historical ties" between the two nations.
India is now chafing at Western demands that it stop backing Iran's right to develop its nuclear capacities."
Crossette contends that India is not yet a responsible world power because it "has a history of interference in the politics of its weaker South Asian neighbours." She specifically mentions the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 and India's covert support to Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka during the 1980s as examples if India's domineering nature in the region.
She also talks about India's support to US-basher Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's for a UN Security Council seat.
The author has doubts about India surpassing China in economic terms, saying population might be the only thing it might beat China at. Crossette asks readers to prove the US contention that India is becoming a high-tech, middle class nation saying 500 million of its people still do not have basic sanitation.
"The information technology sector in India, which accounts for just 4 per cent of GDP, employs only 1 million people," she says. "Although some parts of the country are becoming world centres of research and development in technology, just 32 out of every 1,000 Indians have access to the Internet."
Another reason why India could not be a natural ally of the US is its scant regard for human rights. Crossette says that human rights abuses in India are "far more prevalent than in other democracies." Of special mention is Kashmir, "whose people consider themselves ethnically and historically separate from India."
Crossette writes: "Most Muslim Kashmiris have become united in their contempt for Indian rule. Over the last two decades, tens of thousands of people on all sides have died in Kashmir; thousands more have been arrested or "disappeared."
Human rights groups have decried abuses on both sides. But extrajudicial killings by the Indian military are common and well documented. It is a stinging indictment of democratic India."