On the morning of September 9th, 2014 two of my international friends and I went in an adventure to see one of my personal favorites Senator John McCain. It was a regular morning in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace when I walked in, signed my name and then went up in the elevator to the 1st floor where refreshments were served. We all remember Senator McCain for running for President of the United States in 2008 agains Barack Obama, our current President. McCain is currently the senior Senator from Arizona since 1987. On that beautiful September day, McCain talked about many ways the U.S. can reinforce relations between the United States and India. He mainly focused on opening a global economy that will favor both countries. India is soon to be the most populous country in the world with that they have the largest skilled workforce that will help India become one of the top economies in the world. McCain then said that the U.S. and India have many things in common such as “the values of human rights, individual liberty, and democratic limits on state power, but also the values of our societies – creativity and critical thinking, risk-taking and entrepreneurialism, tolerance and social mobility.” He ended his speech by saying that both countries are the larges economies in the world and together there is nothing they can’t accomplish together.
attended an event on Tuesday, September 09, 2014, in the think tank at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where Senator John McCain was the guest speaker. There was a small stage with two chairs one for the Senator and one for the moderator Mr. Ashley Tellis who is the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s senior associate specializing in security, defense and Asian strategic issues. The setting of the room was very intimate with it being a small room with two chairs at the front for McCain and Tellis and a simple podium. The event was open to the public as well as the press.
McCain was there to talk about the importance of strengthening the United States’ relationship with India. He talked about having a relationship that is not transactional, like it is now, but a more personal and mutually beneficial relationship for both countries. Throughout the Senator’s speech, he emphasized creating a rules based international order. McCain believes that in order to strengthen our relationship America should be India’s preferred partner for economic growth, in terms of trade and investment, as well as their number one supplier of energy. In order to secure this positive relationship, McCain said that Asia, the Middle East, East Asia, and the Pacific need to be stable and willing to work with our two countries. The Senator emphasized the upcoming meeting between President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Modi as a stepping stone to building a strong, positive relationship. He said that Americans need to have faith in India and their assets and Indian citizens need to have faith in America that we will help them to grow as a country. This should be easier to meet on common ground because we share democratic values and have bipartisan support from both countries, according to John McCain.
McCain opened up the floor to questions after talking for thirty minutes. Many questions were aimed at our relationship with other countries such as China. Those who asked questions were from embassies, students, as well as other press agencies.
Territorial boundaries have been the cause of conflicts and tensions between neighboring countries for thousands of years. On Wednesday, May 8, I decided to go to George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to listen to Dr. Namrata Goswami’s presentation, entitled “China-India Border Issues and Northeast India: A View from India.” Dr. Goswami is a notable scholar in her field and has done extensive work analyzing the conflict. The event was sponsored by the Rising Powers Initiative and the India Initiative.
A few of the areas contested are Monpa, Tani, Mishmi, Naga, and Mette. It is difficult to categorize all of them in one specific category, as they are diverse and not homogenous. The border issues date back to the 1950s. Dr. Goswami’s presentation touched upon five factors: disputed border and territorial claims, Tibet as the core issue, balance of military forces, military exercises, and the relationship between the U.S. and India.
The McMahon line, located near the Brahmaputra River, is the borderline delineated by the British to separate China and India. Prior to this, another line had been proposed to solve the conflict. While the Indian government favors the former, the Chinese government favors the latter. The Indian government argues that if they abide the previous line, they will be vulnerable to foreign attacks and lose the defense the mountainous region provides.
In 1959, Mao Zedong published an essay in which he proclaimed Jawaharlal Nehru (the prime minister at the time) as an expansionist, with the desire to expand into Tibet. Nehru’s forward policy called for the establishment of various posts near the McMahon line. On October 1962 China attacked – an attack that was completely unforeseen by the Indian government. The Sino-Indian War produced significant losses for the Indian military.
Throughout the speech, the speaker often stated that Tibet was the “core issue” and highlighted the “importance of Tibet.” In 1954, both parties signed a treaty, whereby the Indian government recognized Tibet as a territory of the People’s Republic of China. (The following link will direct you to a copy of the original document: http://www.tpprc.org/documents/agreements/1954.pdf.) As Nehru was facing pressure from the parliament and the media at the time, the government printed out maps that unilaterally defined the border – heightening tensions even more.
Currently, the Tibetan government (the Central Tibetan Administration) is in exile in India. The Dalai Lama is the spearhead of the non-violent movement that seeks to regain Tibetan autonomy. (More information can be found here: http://tibet.net/important-issues/worldwide-tibet-movement/.) The Free Tibet movement, however, is one of the hundreds of Tibet Support Groups (TSGs) that is independent of the CTA.
Today, the area near the McMahon line is highly militarized. There is a great fear on behalf of the Indian government that a second attack will be launched (like in 1962). Dr. Goswami showed us satellite pictures of the missile deployment the Chinese government set up in Tibet. The Government of India plans to invest $100 million dollars in its military, with the hopes of containing China and maintaining its militarized border. Both countries – which are nuclear weapon states – have also revved up military exercises.
In recent years, the Indian government has successfully strengthened its diplomatic relations with the U.S. government. One of the questions Dr. Goswami explored during her presentation was, “Why is India getting so close to the United States?” There are various theories to account for the increased cooperation between these two countries; perhaps the most prevalent is that a bilateral relationship is crucial to deter China’s rise as a global power. On July 18 the country celebrated a great achievement: it was officially recognized as a nuclear weapon state. Consequently, the idea of the state as a great power was conceptually enforced. In 2006, negotiations suffered a setback. Chinese E-passports were circulating that apparently claimed the contested region as Chinese territory. As negotiations were (and are still) ongoing, it escalated anxiety.
India insists on settling the border disputes based on the McMahon line, and China adamantly opposes it. One of Dr. Goswami’s closing remarks was, “Why has China not resolved the border issue with India?” It has successfully resolved border issues with Burma, Nepal and Mongolia, after all. Her answer was that China wants to make India insecure and assert its power. The realist argument, she said, would be that “China has done this deliberately to question India’s resolve.” The recent standoff in Ladakh has stalled negotiations, increased fear, and intensified pressure from the media and local population.
The dispute is clearly a complex issue that will not be easily resolved. Now that I have heard Dr. Goswami’s discourse presenting “A View from India,” it would be interesting to hear a presentation on “A View from China.”
On the 29th of April 2013 I went to a discussion on U.S-India Relation. Speaking at the event was the ambassador of India and a panel of U.S India Relations Experts Consisting of Raja Mohan, Vikram Sood, Derek Scissors, Lisa Curtis, and Sunjoy Joshi. On the table for discussion was Economic relations and counter terrorism.
All of the speakers were very positive about the future of the United states relations with India and saw it as only growing positively except Derek Scissors who was more fearful and negative about the years to come. He discussed a lot about trade and the economy. He said that India needed to focus on a better internal trade relation before we could establish a working bond with them.
I thought that what Lisa Curtis had to say was very interesting. She discussed where India has bought their weapons and aircrafts from in the past. She stated that in recent years they have been buying them from france, that comment sparked much debate when it came to the question part of the presentation. Many people argued that they have bought weapons here as well.
Over all i think i learned a lot about India that i didn’t previously know. In the future i will be more curious to see where out relationship with them goes.
On April 29th I attended the event of U.S-India Relations in D.C that greatly covered the current and ongoing diplomatic relation of India and U.S. for the past 2 decades. The speakers were many but the two prominent were James Jay Carafano, Ph.D Derek Scissors, Ph.D and Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan Ph.D. The much heralded partnership between New Delhi and Washington has not lift up to its promise that was made during the Bush Administration and Bill Clinton’s visit to India in 2000. The Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi and The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. is keen to understand this paradox and find ways to rekindle the strategic enthusiasm that has plateaued between the two democracies for the past several years. The event covered heavy sectors such as economy, regional security in East and Southwest Asia, counterterrorism, defense and non-proliferation. The progressive relationship between both countries for the past two decades is not denied, specially throughout and after the Cold War, it was in the first decade after the Cold War that the tension raised over nuclear nonproliferation. The U.S. role in India-Pakistan relation over the dispute of Jammu Kashmir and the undeniable fact that U.S. allied Pakistan over India in against of the use of 1998 nuclear tests that caused a major confrontational footing between U.S. and India which made New Delhi the target of international nonproliferation regime. Despite their high profile disputes, he engagement between the political leaders is inviting a stronger foundation for partnership. The bilateral engagement between them now is truly impressive for the economic system which is the major sector that can help build the U.S. economy and make India an economic dynamite in the coming future. Although the current political situation is not as it was expected to be between these large democracies, and to comprehend sources of frustration like strategic culture, the differences in bureaucracies of both countries and policy missteps in New Delhi and Washington is necessary for sorting out the road map for the future of both states. What I found impressive and something new to my knowledge was that the trade and investment relationship between both countries, India has imported nearly $10 billion worth in the past few years in major defense equipment and India’s armed forces exercise more with U.S. military system more than any other military in the world. I didn’t have any idea about this fact.