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US strategy is to make the ISAF pullout smoothly: Suhasini Haidar


Updated: June 24, 2013, 6:12 PM IST
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US strategy is to make the ISAF pullout smoothly: Suhasini Haidar
John Kerry's India visit: points of contention between India and the US

US Secretary of State John Kerry visits India to air American concerns on various issues including providing greater access to Indian markets, Intellectual property rights and the need for "full" implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal apart from pushing India for closer trade ties with Pakistan. India is also expected to air its concerns about US visa policies, restrictive trade practices and the US talking to the Taliban for a desperate way-out of Afghanistan which India does not appreciate at all. CNN-IBN's senior editor Suhasini Haidar joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. The friendliness to Taliban encouraged by Kerry and co will affect our Afganisthan commitments and take Afganisthan closer to Pakistan. What is the USa strategy in this? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Hello and Good Afternoon! The Kerry-Khurshid press conference is still on, but Kerry hasn't clarified that, beyond saying that India and US support a stable democratic Afghanistan. I guess the US strategy is to make the ISAF pullout as smooth as possible, and India has to come to terms with that. India has to deal with Afghanistan and the main players there as a regional power.

Q. Why is Kerry mum on Pakistan sponsored terrorism and What difference you see between Kerry and Hilary Clinton? Asked by: satyendra

A. Satyendra, to begin with, there's a world of difference in their styles. Clinton projected a more tough, decisive image, while Kerry is more conciliatory. When it comes to India-Pakistan, Clinton had made several cutting remarks on Pakistan's support to terror groups, and her visit to India 1 year after 26/11 attacks underlined that. Kerry has been a more frequent visitor to Pakistan, and has advocated more for talks with Pakistan on the issue.Clinton had also "de-hyphenated" the US's approach to both countries. While many have read Kerry's comment that "the world will invest in India and Pakistan if it sees them investing in each other", as a re-hyphenation. Conversely, india should see Kerry as someone who has helped India gain the nuclear deal, also as someone who may have more influence in pakistan.

Q. What kind of impact this Snowden incident will have on India? Asked by: satyendra

A. Most interesting Kerry reponse to CNN-IBN's Paarull's question. He launched into a full defence of the US's Prizm programme, and attacked Russia and China for failing to hand over Snowden. As for the impact on India, it is early to know what info the US snooped for, but the revelations make it clear India must join the world in demanding more internet transparency, and regulation of government surveillance. Ironically, thats something the US has been demanding from Russia and China...

Q. Will there be any in camera hard questions from our side on the PRISM to the visiting secretary of state? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Hope you caught Paarull's question- she asked Kerry on the double standard- that the same co.s who denied the Indian govt information on privacy issues, were regularly supplying it to US government.

Q. Has the liability conditions on the nuclear deal been watered down to satisfaction of the USA for Kerry to get the deal operational? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Interesting qun Sundar. India is yet to frame the guidelines on nuclear trade. It is now being understood that this may happen around the time PM Manmohan Singh heads to Washington (prob October) when they can announce some important deals with US cos.

Q. What should India aim as takeaway from this Kerry visit? Asked by: gopal

A. I think there are several takeaways they could aim for : 1. strategic issues: how much will Kerry explain the Afghanistan strategy, esp Taliban talks. 2. Trade issues: an agreement on US and Indian egs of protectionism, as well as clarity on the nuclear deal 3. Higher Education agreements- likely tomorrow on US aid for colleges in India 4. key goals to be achieved during high profile visits of Biden to India and PM Singh to US this year

Q. In this period when the Obama administration is under the scanner for Syria etc, do you think there is a timeliness issue for Sec. Kerry's visit? Remember, Clinton's visit for Iran's fuel trade? Asked by: Pranaav Jadhav

A. You're right..and remember Kerry came to India directly from the conference on Syria in Doha, but maybe that focus has been diluted by the Snowden drama, as well as the Taliban rejection of US demands on talks?

Q. What do you feel is the core reason for the recent desperation of US - that it is committing blunders like arming "your enemies buddies" (Qaeda/Syrian rebels). Asked by: Ajai

A. I think Ajai that there is a certain drift in policy, and the US admin is torn between what they read as public desire for the US to stop atrocities worldwide, and public aversion to any kind of direct intervention. In that confusion, arming the Syrian rebels may seem like the only option.

Q. Can Indian army be deputed in Afganistan if US army left in 2014? Asked by: shriray9k@gmail.com

A. I doubt India would be asked or that it would agree.

Q. Are the Americans not better for us compared to china, which can capture our territory whenever it feels like - as in depsang recently? Asked by: Rohit khanna

A. :) Harder for US as no shared borders! On a serious note, why is this a choice. India can and must build great relations with both the US and CHina

Q. The nuclear deal was the transformative and defining moment for India-USA relations. What according to you should be the new defining moment? Should we expect the announcement of the new defining moment during John Kerry's visit to India? Asked by: Bhumish Khudkhudia

A. Not really, this is more an introductory visit..but maybe later in the year?

Q. Does Kerry enjoy the same equation with Obama as Hilary Clinton had? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Probably less engaged, but also less adversarial!

Q. This is a more 'personal take on Kerry' question: Do you think a man like Sec. Kerry who has lost the Presidential race, doesn't have the aura that Clinton had succeed as the top diplomat? Asked by: Pranaav Jadhav

A. Well Pranaav, Clinton lost a presidential primary too. I dont think Kerry's problem is his loss in that presidential race. But he does need to define and explain his own worldview better. I guess he needs some time to do that.

Q. Kerry is seen as Pro-Pakistani. Will this be good for the bilateral relations? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I think we have to judge Mr. Kerry on what he does, as US Secy of State, while he is definitely familiar with Pakistan, he also knows India well, and that must be seen as a positive. He recounts how he was part of the first US congressional trade delegation post reforms in 1991, and sees the India-US partnership increasing. On issues like Pakistan, Afghanistan, talks with the Taliban etc, I think his actions may be more defined by US policy, and that will be a collective effort of Kerry, the new NSA Susan Rice, the powerful US ambassador to UN Samantha Powers, and not the least, President Obama himself.

Q. He mentioned a contract with Westinghouse for the nuclear deal. This was never reiterated by Hillary. Why did she not? And why did he do so? Own initiative? Or India is back to India-US bhai bhai. Asked by: Rohit khanna

A. Likely to see some movement on this in the next few months, talks have definitely re-started. Bhai-bhai, maybe not, but dost-dost they already are. Thanks everyone for the questions, hope to chat soon again! Suhasini

First Published: June 24, 2013, 6:12 PM IST
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