If any more proof was needed of the ever-more thickening ties between India and United States, it was provided by the visit of the US Secretary of State John Kerry to India and that of the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to US. In New Delhi, Kerry sitting by the foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s side, “made it very very clear that United States stands in strong partnership with India against all terrorism, no matter from where it comes from, no matter what form it takes”. He said there was no good or bad terrorists as “terrorism is terrorism.” And Swaraj ruled out talks with Pakistan saying “talks with Pakistan will happen only when it takes steps on the Pathankot terror attack” since “terror and talks cannot go hand-in-hand”.
Swaraj also said that India and US had “reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and D Company”. Kerry, she said, had also agreed on the need for Pakistan to do more to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot terrorist attacks to justice quickly.
And in US, in a departure from its policy of not entering into a military agreement with any major power, Parrikar signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with United States which will allow their militaries to work closely and use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
The new agreement and the broad convergence of views between the two countries on the regional and international issues is one major more indicator of the changing regional and global geo-politics. Kerry who was in India for second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue tacitly agreed to India’s tough stance on Pakistan, including India’s policy that “the talks and terror” can’t go together.
Incidentally, India and the US also announced the start of trilateral cooperation to strengthen and stabilise Afghanistan without the inclusion of Pakistan. India-US-Afghanistan meet is scheduled next month on the sidelines of 71st UN General Assembly session. When asked that the meet will make Pakistan feel isolated from the Afghanistan stabilization efforts, Kerry said Islamabad should feel encouraged as “it can find roadmap for its own choices for tackling terror”.
As Kashmir stands roiled by yet another extended uprising against New Delhi, the changing geo-politics of the region as represented by the growing closeness between India and US should not be lost on us. If the killings and the blindings in Kashmir over the past 55 days have evoked little global response, we should know why it is so. And for this we need to situate ourselves in the larger geo-political context rather than see our situation only through the prism of India, Pakistan relations and our own grievances against New Delhi. This has created a popular narrative about our struggle that is far from the reality, bordering, at times, on a grand delusion. There is a need to root our struggle not only in our aspirations and the sentiment but also in the geo-political realities of today's world and then hone it to respond and play them to our advantage.
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