India – US Trade and How It Will Impact Kashmir

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While the hullabaloo over Modi’s rise on the international stage has been on the verge of being a circus, with all the elephants of trade on parade, it is a distraction from the recent collective beating of chests being put on by joint Naval forces of India, the United States and Japan in the South China Sea, called Exercise Malabar, an annual event since 1992 bilaterally between India and the U.S.  Japan joined just last year.  It has been held in previous years in the Indian Ocean and other areas closer to home for India.  But the hegemonic ambitions of this odd couple now reflects the deepening commitment the two countries have made to sharing a strategic military alignment against China for dominance in South and Southeast Asia.

 

As stated in my previous article, Reflections on Modi's Visit to the U.S: What's in it for Kashmir?, U.S. neocons have long had both Russia and China in their sights. Both countries represent a threat to America's economic and political dominance in the world.  At the moment, that alliance has been viewed as too strong for the war machine to take on either country directly. But the agenda follows policy long established by neocons like Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Dick Cheney and John Bolton (now prospective Secretary of State during Trump administration) and others who, through Project for a New American Century, for years advocated confrontation rather than accommodation and have continued to be the leading neocons who have had the ear of successive administrations.

 

 

India’s growing alliance with the U.S. seems strange in historical context, given the fact that China is, or should I say, has been, India’s largest global trading partner. Trade between the two countries had increasedfrom $2 billion in 2001 to $70 billion in 2014, and the current vision is to continue growing.  So India’s actions in the South China Sea seem to run somewhat counter to its interests.  India’s need for Chinese-made goods far surpasses China’s need for Indian products, leaving a substantial deficit.  . 

 

The weight of U.S. cooperation with India is not insignificant US trade with India has actually overtaken Indian trade with China and now stands at $100 billion per year. But that’s just a nickel in the tip jar on top of the Steinway

 

The weight of U.S. cooperation with India is not insignificant US trade with India has actually overtaken Indian trade with China and now stands at $100 billion per year. But that’s just a nickel in the tip jar on top of the Steinway

 

India suffers a trade deficit with China that was close to $50 billion in 2014-15, while enjoying a $20 billion surplus with the U.S.  India is losing big money to China while gaining some of it back from the U.S.  It would seem that India intends to maintain good relations with China but sees more substantial benefits in developing ties with the U.S.

 

There’s no question that Prime Minister Modi has hegemonic notions of his own.  His policies toward Kashmir are a clear example.  No doubt, he has no interest in trading India’s new-found independence and strength for second-class colony status, whether it be the world’s largest wage slave, labor camp or not. He is more interested in selling India’s poor on the open global market to investors who like cheap labor and handsome profits.  The cost of corporate greed is that human rights will always take a back seat.  It is clear from a report in The Guardian, dated November 8, 2016, entitled, “India’s crackdown in Kashmir: is this the world’s first mass blinding

 

Trade and commercial deals are important but not at the expense of the high moral ground American exceptionalism has always claimed.

 

 

India’s penchant to present her perspective before the international community ignores fundamental root causes in the abuse of the rights of Kashmiris, and the risk of nuclear confrontation itself shrinks all other complaints to silly whining.

 

Companies that have billions of dollars on the line will do much to influence policies that will protect their stockholders. So trade and commerce between India and the U.S. as well as other countries is a good thing, and will likely provide the necessary leverage to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully. In this context it is significant to note that when India and Pakistan were at the brink of a nuclear confrontation in 2002, Thomas Freedman wrote in the New York Times on August 11, 2002, "…it was the influence of General Electric, not General Powell, that did the trick." 

 

 

 


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