News / Asia

US Diplomat Visits India in Attempt to Repair Frayed Ties

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal speaks during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Feb. 1, 2014.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal speaks during a media briefing in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Feb. 1, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha
— A senior American official is visiting India to normalize ties frayed by the arrest of an Indian diplomat nearly three months ago. But it may not be easy for the two democracies to bridge differences that have erupted over diplomatic and trade issues.
 
The message U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal brings to New Delhi is that Washington wants to move past the differences sparked by the detention of an Indian diplomat in New York in December.
 
The arrest plunged bilateral ties to their lowest point in 15 years and put several visits by American officials, including Biswal on hold. A deal that allowed the diplomat to return to India failed to fully heal the ruptures.    
 
As Biswal landed Tuesday in Bangalore for the rescheduled visit, she wrote in an Indian newspaper that the partnership “has real challenges to overcome.”
 
But with India headed for elections, there are doubts whether the American official’s visit will achieve that objective.
 
Bharat Karnad with the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi says the recent rift  exposed the deeper problems that afflict the India-U.S. relationship, which he says is in the doldrums.
 
“New Delhi has become quite mindful of the differences that are still out there and which Washington has not addressed, so it is going to be a hard slog for Biswal to make any leeway in her interactions," noted Karnad. " The Obama administration in saying let’s push the reset button, that’s being a little facile. That does not help in getting our interests in alignment as it were.”
 
From Bangalore, Biswal heads to New Delhi where she will meet senior Indian officials for talks ranging from security to economic cooperation.    
 
Biswal is calling on India to provide stronger patent protection and create a more open environment to boost commercial exchanges.
 
Trade is another issue that is straining ties. New Delhi is angry over a recent U.S. threat of sanctions over what it believes is weak intellectual protection in India. From solar panels to pharmaceuticals to airlines, both countries have clashed in recent weeks, with some problems headed to the World Trade Organization.
 
Indicating that New Delhi is in no mood for conciliation, Trade Minister Anand Sharma Tuesday accused the U.S. of excessive trade protectionism and said that India would not agree to tougher rules on protecting intellectual property.
 
Analysts say New Delhi is prepared for a showdown with the U.S. on trade issues.
 
“Pressurization like that in a big country like India, it tends to put the back up, so one cannot really expect it to get results. I think persuasion is the only thing,” said Anwarul Hoda, an expert on trade policy with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi.
 
In Bangalore, Biswal announced that the U.S. Agency for International Aid will provide $ 2.7 million to promote renewable energy projects in India.
 
Political analysts say the growing differences on trade and diplomatic issues have put the spotlight on the faultlines in a relationship that has been billed as a “strategic partnership”, but has failed to live up to that expectation.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF2 from: GREAT NORTH (Canada)
March 04, 2014 11:44 AM
These incidents, that caused the serious disruption, the worse one was the strip search of a female diplomat, will have a very long term negative effect on relations. The context and political background, in India, was in deep stages of social and political turmoil, with massive manifestations ongoing against the sexual abuse of Indian women; the size of the protests, in many cities, including New Delhi, had grown to 100,000s+ of citizens; the current gvmt was acussed, by the opposition and many activists/community leaders, that the gvmt had failed in its duty to protect Indian women.

At the height of the internal crisis wrt women, the strip search of the diplomat occurred. In this context one can project that it will take years to repair the relationship. The case was made worse, by the ignorance and self delusion, that this was the way that diplomats should be treated = no different than any other US residing person. To this day, those that carried out the act self justify themselves. At a critical strategic stage in Asia, relating to negative stability events taking place around the China Sea, and beyond, the last thing the US needs is to alienate a potential strategic partner, given the rapidly waning influence of the US globally, this is a bad situation.

The worse of it, is the fact that the situation for US businesses will also be dire. Lots of very large economic agreements/contracts are down the drain, and so is US influence. It took almost 40 yrs to repair the US/India relationship, to a very progressive coperative level, only to be destroyed in one senseles/tactless incident. If the relationship is not fixed, in my estimate, it is the biggest strategic partnership/foreign policy failure of the current administration. In any case, diplomats should not be treated just like any one, and unless there is clear evidence of them having weapons/explosives/drugs on them, a more sensitive approach is required, especially of women diplomats, in certain cultures such transgressions will have extremely bad consequences.. And when such screw ups occur fix the problem, and vocalize its fix.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid