New Delhi, Nov.25 : United States foreign policy would continue to be guided by its national interest as it had been since the World War II, feels Brajesh Mishra, National Security Advisor in the Vajpayee Government.
Chairing a discussion on the "Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Impact on Asian Security Framework" at Observer Research Foundation, Mishra said the Bush Administration had been working on two key US strategies of expanding eastward in the Europe and balancing of China.
"Mr. Obama will also do that," he remarked, saying while the new President-elect talks of international cooperation, they also say "we have to lead it," an ORF press release quoted him as saying further.
Mishra, a Trustee of ORF, said the Indo-US nuclear deal and alongwith it the better bilateral relations would lead to increased investments from the US. "This is a plus point in the Indo-US relations," he said.
Saying that international situation has changed in the last few months following the financial crisis, Mr. Mishra said he was of the opinion that the US would seek Chinese cooperation to survive the economic crisis and perform well in the first four years so that he can seek re-election.
The ORF press release quoted General (retired) V.P. Malik, President of the Institute of Security Studies and former Chief of Army Staff, as saying that it is too early to assess the material gains from the nuclear agreement, especially in the hi-technology transfer area.
Giving the US and India perspective, former Foreign Secretary and former Ambassador to US, Lalit Mansingh, also said that the US would continue its hegemony in the world irrespective of whoever is the President.
"There would be continuity (in its foreign policy) though there may be some differences," he said.
"Obama is not going to be hostile (to India), but at the same time, he is not going to be as friendly as President Bush," he added.
Mansingh said though President George Bush articulated the US-India agreement, it really started when Pentagon and CIA said in studies that India was a 'swing state which would make difference war and peace.' He described 1998 as a point of departure as far as the India-US relations were concerned, with the Clinton administration making U-turn months after it imposed sanctions on India after its Pokhran II nuclear test.
Noting that the US military is under stress now, Mr. Mansingh said the US think only China can become a possible threat to it as it has the capability to challenge the US. So, the US think that strategic partnership with India can help balance the China factor, he said.
Mansingh said India can benefit immensely from the Indo-US partnership, especially in high technology and counter terrorism. Only US have the political will and military capability to fight the terror in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which is very vital to Indian interests, the ORF press release quoted him, as saying.
Mansingh was clear that there is no alternative to the India's relations with the US. He was not so certain about the possibility of friendly behaviour from rising China. In such a scenario, he did not see anything as effective as the Indo-US relations.
Giving the Chinese perspective, Dr. Surjit Dutta, Senior Fellow, IDSA, said though China was not happy with the Indo-US agreement, it decided to go alongwith the agreement because the "Chinese diplomacy was not willing to stand alone."
"So, it decided to adjust to the new reality of a new world nuclear order. And attempt to engage strongly with the US and India to create a conducive situation", Dr. Dutta said.
Giving the Russian perspective, Kanwal Sibal, a former Foreign Secretary and former Ambassador to Russia, said Russia may not be much concerned about the Indo-US deal and it was ready to give US the due credit for its efforts to get India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group which Russia was reluctant to do earlier.
Sibal said Russia would have a problem only if Indo-US relations start to trouble them strategically and economically.
Giving the Southeast Asian perspective, Prof. GVC Naidu of Jawaharlal Nehru University explained how the new Indo-US relations have fetched India a critical role in the new security architecture and deeper Indo-Japan relations, with many countries suspicious of China. He also spoke of the possibility of increased civil nuclear energy cooperation with Japan which has stakes in both US and French nuclear energy firms.
Saying that the current economic crisis has no parallel, former Ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar said the US knows that only a cash-rich China can save the US from this crisis and hence there might be a change in the US policy towards China. "The Americans may survive their closer relations with China," he cautioned.
He also opined that the Indo-US deal has led to losses for the United States in Afghan war as it led to mistrust in Pakistan.