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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid