Indian-origin Americans in the Biden Admin will worsen things for India

Tarun Chhabra, Sumona Guha, Shanthi Kalathil: Meet The 'Incredibly Accomplished' Indian Americans on Joe Biden's National Security Team
[Tarun Chhabra, Sumona Guha, Shanthi Kalathil 0n Biden White House staff]

Joseph Biden takes over as the new US President tomorrow. It won’t be long before the ridiculous South Asian media and, in particular, Indian newspapers, TV channels and the like, begin tom-tomming the appointment on the Biden White House National Security Council staff of former US foreign service officer Sumona Guha as Senior Director, South Asia, and Tarun Chhabra from Georgetown University as Senior Director for Technology and National Security. Elsewhere, Shanthi Kalathil, a journalist, takes over as Coordinator for Democracy and Human Rights and another ex-diplomat who resigned during the Trump tenure — Uzra Zeya is set to be Under-Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.

Two women of Kashmiri origin too have found a place in the senior ranks of the incoming Democratic party dispensation. Sameera Fazli, who led the Biden-Harris economic transition team will be Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Aisha Shah will move over from the campaign staff to be Manager Partnerships in the White House Digital Strategy unit.

These appointments will be hailed as a diplomatic boon for India when the record of Indian-origin US admin staffers suggests they are usually more critical of, and severe on, India than other Americans. Realistically what’s in the offing is that this country’s interests are going to get it in the neck!

Here’s why. The Modi dispensation’s greatest vulnerability is that it is tough on India’s Muslim minority community, and that it finally did what previous Indian governments had shied away from doing, namely, ridding the Constitution of Article 370 bestowing special status within the Union for Jammu & Kashmir, thereby finally and fully integrating Kashmir into the country. Moreover, it permits all Indians to enjoy the same reasonable rights of domicile and residentship in Kashmir as Kashmiris who have settled down in other Indian provinces do.

Donald Trump’s Islamophobia that virtually saw the gates to the United States closed to all Muslims was in sync then with the Modi government’s internal political and electoral leanings. This removed the troubling trifecta of issues of human rights, religious freedom and treatment of minorities that Modi’s “Friend Barak” had flagged during his Republic Day foray some five years ago, and which has perenninally been the source of discord between Delhi and Washington, from contention. Because during the Trump presidency these issues were missing from the bilateral agenda, it enabled the kind of personal bonhomie between Modi and Trump. The Modi regime could brush off the occasional embarrassment of, say, the US Commission on Religious Freedoms putting India on the watch list only because the Trump White House didn’t give a fig about Muslims generally and even less about how they were treated in distant India as long as the Modi regime kept placating Washington with its default option of buying more and still more Lockheed C-17s and C-130J transport planes for the Indian Air Force and Boeing P-8Is for the Indian Navy in a series of multi-billion dollar deals that kept the US defence industry humming.

The situation has turned over. Consider this: There will now be a laser-focus on human rights issues by the Biden Admin that had so far been ignored. This incidentally gells with Biden’s domestic agenda of catering more fulsomely to his black, Latino and immigrant sections of the American society. Guha at the centre of Biden’s South Asia-related foreign policy initiatives will begin coordinating the separate human rights initiatives that Kalathil in the independent human rights agency and Zeya at State Department and their staffs will in the next four years, at a minimum, put together. These will be measures to pressure the Modi government into backing off from its illiberal stance on minority rights and to go easy on pet Hindutva themes — cow slaughter, love jihad, etc. — the sort of exotic issues that readily catch Washington’s eye.

All the diplomatic tap-dancing by foreign minister S Jaishankar around these sensitive subjects won’t impress these more worldly-wise Indian-origin types in Biden’s advisoriate much.

Biden will stick to Trump’s China policy contours for the nonce if only because the rightwing ‘insurrection’ staged at the Capitol last week has Washington establishment agog. Moreover, his priority to get speedy US Senate approvals for senior appointees to his cabinet, and to undo and reverse a whole slew of Trump’s executive orders will keep the new President preoccupied for the better part of the next six months. So Biden is unlikely to pay India much attention other than as the latter impacts Afghanistan, and here what transpired during NSA Ajit Doval’s recent quick trip to Kabul will evince US interest. This six month window also affords the Modi regime the time to clean up its human rights act.

Vice Pesident Kamala Harris notwithstanding, what will not happen is that the switch will suddenly be thrown for India to benefit from a gush of high-value US military technologies, etc. Fact is Chhabra, liaising across the corridor with Guha, will be just as stingy on allowing high-technology transactions with India. This has been the US establishment posture since Reagan’s days in the mid-80s when the ice was broken and the then Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger on his trip talked of India being given open access to US military technologies only for Delhi to discover that the promised flood was but a trickle and then India had to jump through the hoops for it. This is still the case.

Indeed, the US may, in fact, demand from Delhi a whole lot more on the human rights front and trade concessions beneficial to America than is politic for Modi to give. Indeed, with Biden echoing Obama’s ‘in-sourcing’ mantra, the likes of Fazli will flesh out incentives to US companies to shift their manufacturing base and capital investments from China, not to India, but back to the US. And because, like in everything else, the Indian government maintained a tardy pace of reforms that has not to-date motivated global investors to move heavy monies into India or to set up their production hubs here, the window of opportunity that was open for awhile during the Trump interregnum has closed.

The aim of the unprecedented declassification and release of a policy paper by the White House only days before Trump’s departure — ‘US Strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific’ laying out the American policy for Asia was, presumably, to lock Biden into China Trump’s policy. Minor details aside, Matt Pottinger, who drafted this document and was Trump’s main in-house adviser on the Indo-Pacific, expects that Guha, et al will, for instance, conceive, as his paper does, India as “a counterbalance to China” and incline towards building the Indian military up just so it is able “to effectively collaborate with the United States”.

Considering Modi has given no indication of letting go of the close relationship developed with Russia over the decades anytime soon, what does this mean? Well, the tension will come to a head sooner than later when the Countering America’s Adversaries Through the Sanctions Act provisions kick in. India will likely be sanctioned for buying the Russian S-400 air defence system in the face of some quite considerable push from the US against it. The Guha-Chhabra team will insist on the Trumpian condition of India needing to ease itself away from that particular contract. That won’t happen, so it will leave bilateral relations up in the air.

Incidentally, for the same wrong reasons there is elation on the other side of the Radcliffe Line as well. Pakistani media are glowing with reports about Pakistani-origin Americans as Biden appointees. The most significant among them is Salman Ahmed as head of Policy Planning in the US State Department. In policy importance terms, Ahmed outranks Guha and all the other Indians. There’s also Ali Zaidi, who will assume the post of Deputy Adviser on Climate to Biden.

The worst case for the Modi government will be if the Guha-Zeya-Kalathil emphasis on human rights and Kashmir segues with Ahmed’s thinking on the subject, and Aisha Shah from the White House expertly uses the social media possibly to needle Modi. Further, “cross border terrorism” will resonate even less with the Biden government than it did with the Trump Admin for the reason that no one on the US side will be other than reluctant to conflate terrorism with Pakistan. To top it all, Delhi will be pressed to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty — something Obama had continually stressed. With Biden set to continue with so many of Obama-era policies, South Asia will be no exception.

These developments at the America-end combined with the Modi-Amit Shah duo sticking fast to their position at the India end will mean bilateral ties going south fast.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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33 Responses to Indian-origin Americans in the Biden Admin will worsen things for India

  1. Ram says:


    While I understand your frustration and share your concerns, but wouldn’t it help, if due to the above foresaid reasons, someone is finally able to bell the two cats who have run amok?

    There is no group or institution that the Modi government has left unscathed in the six disastrous years without commensurate benefits in return. There are so many positive reforms (not linked to RSS ideology) that could have been implemented during the initial years (with record low oil prices) that even disastrous mistakes like demonetization could perhaps have been forgiven.

    But alas, the current government seems to be in no mood to get their house in order since they are winning elections anyway and running the country down in the process.

    The economy is in tatters since no talented, independent minded economist would like to be associated with the policies of the current government. Its run my armchair amateurs who like to be on the right side of the government for post retirement benefits. The same with other institutions who have become propaganda machines for the government instead of speaking truth to power.

    Kashmir would have been a great achievement if in addition to other positive reforms, all other parts of India were indeed enjoying the fruits of close bonding with the mainland with high growth and better lifestyle. Instead, in addition of the countrywide economic distress and depravation, this has added to our woes with change of guard in a distant land and has got China involved as the third party in Kashmir’s resolution in the UN ( if it happens at all).

    That Xi is not soft and relatively weak like his predecessor Hu Jintao, that he has changed the situation on the ground at the border during 2014 visits, permanently grabbed and militarized parts of the SCS and finally Doklam should have rung alarm bells in the Indian establishment got Modi focus on serious governance and the economy in full steam. A strong economy could perhaps have had major powers take India more seriously like the high growth years of the UPA.
    Instead no such seriousness is visible in any arm of the government.

    Internationally, its China everywhere. There seems to have been negligible effect on its economy while the Western economies are in the doldrums.
    Despite the situation in Hongkong and the mishandling of Covid, its managed to get trade deals signed with EU, effectively neutralizing any dissent from the EU heavyweights.
    The RCEP will further boost its economic might and get the ASEAN countries fully in its orbit of influence.

    India is foolishly depending on the US for its border war with China with no adequate measures – technologically, militarily or diplomatically. If push comes to shove, none of the other powers in the Quad will come to India’s help, as they all share a cozy relationship with China that in turn keeps their economies running.

    You surely must be in touch with other strategic thinkers around the world, is this really the India that everyone anticipated with a so called “strong” central government? Haven’t we (the Modi government) ourselves created this situation for others to read us the riot act when we could have behaved otherwise?

    • Much in what you say is true. But the obverse side of your view is that India has receded from the thinking of Western strategists in the main because India simply doesn’t do what the US wants it to.

  2. whatsintanyway says:

    Are we supposed to let a whole region (JnK not Ladakh) with strategic implications go berserk just because some dumb broad grew a glib conscience. For some esoteric reasons sanctions must be welcomed and cherished: they will add more to Atmnirbhar Bharat than Modi ever will. Look at LCA, PARAM, Cryogenic engines. Tackling this would require some realpolitik instead of sentiments and morals/ethics (the Modus Operandi of MEA since ages).

    • Absolutely. The reason why I concluded in my 2015 book why India is Not a Great Power (Yet) that India should resume nuclear testing, say, and trigger comprehensive sanctions forcing Delhi to rely only on Indian designed, developed and manufactured military and other goods. And in my 2018 book Staggering Forward: Narendra Modi and India’s Global Ambition that Modi should ban altogether all import of arms starting immediately for atm nirbharta to take hold.

      • whatsinitanyway says:

        I am afraid I haven’t read your books but I totally agree. I cannot fathom what the buffoons in the defence ministry have been doing. Just Look at any major conflict/war, WW2 for instance – the Luftwaffe ruled the sky(atleast for the first half of the war) because Germany was producing more aircaft a day than allied forces could shot down,
        USSR factories were rolling out 3000-5000 tanks a month just to put things in perspective The total tank strength in Indian army is around 4000 I think . India may have a capacity to fight for 3-4 months but cannot sustain conflict for a year… or years ….
        We just don’t have blueprints to replicate the hardware and yet we keep importing just to meet sanctioned strength.
        And Chinese even with their geographic disadvantages can sustain damages and spend quite unconscianbly, incessantly their men and hardware …. It’s a game of bleeding each other out.
        Although I also think that sanctions would not have been imposed beacuse the world is engaged with COVID, US is facing a political and health crisis thus we could very well have evaded the western ire (Not that I care for their anger but the ministry does ).
        I follwed your articles on India’s strategic partnership with US, you are spot on …
        Infact I am quite suspicious that their long term strategy against China (to keep her engaged in Asia)is to cast India in a Pakistan like role against China. May be MEA is aware.
        I hope that the Indian government which has been blamed , since it’s inception ,with perfidy lives upto its reputation and superficially fulfils the pacts just signed. Instead we should have a pacts with kazakhs, Mongols, tajeskistan and other middle income /poor /small countries surrounding China.
        Or we could just suck it up for a few decades, possibly 2 , become wealthier enough to cash our ambitions and protect our sovreignty(whatever will be left of it) through deterrence… The Chinese population will start declining by then.. they will face a lot of problems then :). Or we could learn from Vietnamese some sense of dignity and teach Chinese a lesson in Indian hostility and NOT INDIAN HOSPITALITY. This may very well be the real test of how FREE we think we are.

  3. Sankar says:

    “Modi dispensation’s greatest vulnerability is that it is tough on India’s Muslim minority community…” – I fail to understand this assessment.

    A propos Art 370, it must be pointed out that it was formulated as “temporary and transient”. Hence it cannot be there forever. “Temporary” implies that there is a sunset clause implicit – you do not have to spell it out explicitly. Hence, it expires “by default” if the State has not acted to delete it. – basta!,

    I feel there is no need for the Hindus in India to be apologetic to the world at large on Kashmir or Art 370. The reality is the Art 370 came in the Constitution in 1953, whereas the Maharajah has signed his accession in 1947, the same document as all other Princes to form the Indian Union albeit a delay.

    On Kashmir policy, Modi and Shah have made an epoch-making contribution to the Indian Statehood and Nation building. That needs to be acknowledged as a great vision in spite of Modi’s disastrous China policy.

    I feel it is too early to speculate on what Biden’s policy to India will be. The US will tacitly follow their interest whatever the (phony) human rights etc are concerned, and hopefully, India will not budge from her interest.

    • It is a mere statement of fact that Biden’s high appointees and the incoming Indian-origin staffers are alive to the perceived human rights violations of the Muslim and Dalit communities in India, and this will be made an issue of by them. Indeed, Washington state Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (of Indian origin) has long ben making noises along these lines and may well lead the campaign.

    • Ram says:

      Our amateur and impulsive policy makers needs to take a leaf out of China’s handbook to face the global reality.

      1. When China took over Hongkong, Hongkong’s economy was roughly 25% of China’s then GDP and China couldn’t afford to antagonize the world order. So even though China grudgingly agreed to one country two systems, it had always planned to get Hongkong at par with the rest of the country. It waited with patience for roughly two decades by when Hongkong’s economy was only 2% China’s GDP. Now when the world is in a flux and China has reached a super power status at par with the US, it is least concerned about global opprobrium and gone for the kill.

      2. It has maintained an aggressive stance towards Taiwan, short of a complete takeover. Maintaining the status quo instead of a takeover has paid it rich dividends.

      – It has allowed its economy to flourish with high tech investments from Taiwan which wouldn’t happen in case of complete takeover. This has in turn allowed to flex its military muscle which the world now fears.

      – To get her nod for other pressing issues at the UN, it has kept the US away from pressuring on Taiwan beyond lip service and occasional show of strength.

      – Its cheque book diplomacy has ensured the few remaining countries switched their allegiance to China instead of Taiwan, effectively isolating it. It has ensured Taiwan is not represented at an independent country in the global order.

      – Kept the US and its allies on its toes, engaged in the Taiwan strait and the entire Asia Pacific just to balance the PLA, spending billions and getting to tow US foreign policy even against their wishes, for a full blown attack whose chances are quite slim. Their efforts are now to keep China in good humor to prevent further escalation. The pacific rim countries are now more flexible to accommodate Chinese interests with fear of the PLA opening up additional fronts against them on trade or militarily.

      – By bending backwards, not making show of strength based on race, religion or color and accommodating concerns of less developed countries as far as South America and Africa with real politik, it has gained access to major natural resources across the world. It doesn’t have to worry much about future supplies of oil, Lithium and rare earth metals as its SOE own most of them.

      In short, its practice of maintaining status quo to suit its strategic objectives, not necessarily be on the right side of history, avoiding knee-jerk reactions to global events and keeping a low profile made China the Superpower it is.

      Compare this with what’s happening in India:

      The context when Modi took over was very much in the public domain.

      – A policy paralysis resulting in slowdown during the last years of UPA making us even less relevant in foreign affairs.

      – US and its allies keen on winding up in Afghanistan and looking the other way while China effectively militarized the SCS and ECS.

      – China making inroads in our neighborhood, especially with BRI.

      Instead of getting his house in order with the new found mandate, inculcating better ties with neighbors (bending backwards if needed) with just one objective in mind – You get the carrots as long as my core objectives are met (do not allow China a free ride). Being better off than all of you, I am willing to make a few sacrifices and get your people a better life as well, provided I am satisfied with your behavior.

      Instead of using these leverages and striving to get to our true economic potential, we have:

      – a ruined economy making us a minion in global affairs, let alone face the PLA.

      – a divided society where one religion is being harassed for his domestic consumption, thereby jeopardizing our standing in the immediate neighborhood and the middle east. This may not show up immediately but bite us in the long run when we are most vulnerable ( remember Nepal in the 2015 earthquake or its constitution and the border issues in recent times?)

      – With CAA, what’s the message being sent to our only friendly neighbor Bangladesh?

      The point is if we had made some progress in meeting some of our strategic goals – economic and militarily (not off the shelf purchases but self sufficiency) in the last six years, maintained a status quo on Kashmir with occasional show of strength, not gone in for a muscular policy for domestic vote bank, if we would have had the strategic patience that China had with Hongkong and has now with Taiwan, the Kashmiris would have themselves further watered down the provisions to get more benefits in return from the rest of India which would have been prospering and thriving. If things were doing good otherwise on other fronts, undoing 370 even as an impulsive act of desperation for purely domestic consumption would have been a passing event.

      We wouldn’t have had to worry about US influence on our policies if we were firmly in control of our lives and prosperity and not overly dependent on the US and it allies – from H1B visas to defending the high seas.

      • Sankar says:

        “With CAA, what’s the message being sent to our …” –
        This does not make sense!

        At the time of partition (1946?) the agreement (Gandhi and Jinnah & Britain) with the Colonial Masters (Britain) was that all the “religious minorities” will be looked after as well as the “religious majorities” in the respective land – these implied equal rights as citizens irrespective of religious creed. Otherwise, the Indian Congress (read Gandhi) would not have agreed to the partition of (British) India.

        What happened after the partition is of course a different reality. Pak reneged on the agreement of partition as Hindus lost all their fundamental rights in Pakistan, riots broke out in Noakhali (East Pakistan) and Hindus were indiscriminately killed. Nehru put pressure on Liaquat Ali to adhere to the rules of partition. Liaquat was unable to follow up and was eliminated by Pak in due course. The rest is history now – Hindus living in their birthplaces in newly created Pakistan lost their fundamental rights.

        Hence the case for CAA – GOI failed to ensure the rights of Hindus in Pak Land. Delhi must acknowledge it openly. Hindus who been discriminated against in Pak or BD must have the right to settle in India. CAA acknowledges that.

        Modi & Co have failed to articulate India’s stand in the external world – India does not exist in a vacuum -. hence the problem! CAA has validity for India for sure!

  4. DAN says:


    THERE IS NO C-15, NUR C-5 AND C-17


  5. andy says:

    “buying more and still more Lockheed C-15s and C-130J transport planes for the Indian Air Force and Boeing P-8Is for the Indian Navy”

    Do you mean the C17 Globe master from Boeing instead of C15 Bharat ? C 130j is from Lockheed Martin.

  6. Debanjan Banerjee says:

    Dear Mr. Karnad again another timely article from your side on Indo-US relations.You mention that “Further, “cross border terrorism” will resonate even less with the Biden government than it did with the Trump Admin for the reason that no one on the US side will be other than reluctant to conflate terrorism with Pakistan.”

    1. What are the reasons that you believe the time-tested “cross border terrorism” card that India has played via US and Pakistan are no longer as relevant as it was in the past ?

    2. Do you believe Praveen Sawhney’s observation that PLA will be in a position to snatch more territory from India in the Arunachal Pradesh by 2024-25 ? Will the US help stop this eventuality becoming a reality ?

  7. Vikrant says:

    ‘Islamophobia’, a word created by the fascists (Muslim Brotherhood) to manipulate the morons – Christopher Hitchens.

    What’s interesting about the Capital protest was how bland it was compared not just to the riotus lynch mob of last year but even to the riots that had taken place at the Trumps inauguration, to the point where the only spice that had come was by way of antifa and blm extremist like John Sullivan and his cohorts. For anyone following the months long riots in US last year, which saw somewhere between 30 to 60 people killed and $2 billion worth of damage spanning over hundreds of cities, firebombing of Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland, lynch mob ruling the streets assaulting anyone and everyone in its wake, would find the capital protest equivalent to a gandhian march. what was unique to the capital protest was the brutal crackdown of protesters, censorship of the political opponents and the establishment of a police state which would have embarrassed even the most ambitious dictator.

    What’s so fascinating about propaganda is its potency, even national security experts can’t be kept immune from it if it is sustained, repeated and ubiquitous. Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen were right when they stated: What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first. It’d not be imprudent to add that giant of a behemoth which sets, drives and informs the conversation on a scale and scope never seen before to be one of the most potent weapon in the US arsenal – the social media.

    Gone are the days of tanks rolling through the capital and dethroning an American adversary, we live in an age of information/economic warfare whereby the US can enslave the elite, and consequently the nation, without so much as disturbing the beaches. An improved version of British East India companys model of elite capture. Sovereignty would be defined not just in terms of seperate currency and military but by those uniquely 21st century commodities- control of internet, media, data and social media; without whose control the nation would find itself defenseless in the face of foreign interference.

    in this regard, the current dispensation’s obliviousness to the Sovereignty of internet, media, data and social media will result in the demise of Indian independence.

  8. Amit says:

    I’ve always felt that Modi’s government would only get opposition from outside India as there is no one to oppose him within. First there was China which has led to rapid changes in the Indian defence industry. Or at least rapid compared to before. Now with potential opposition from the US on other issues, maybe it will lead to more efficient social and economic policies in India. But I’m not as pessimistic as you sound about India US relations. There could be some hiccups, but I would still expect the relationship to be strong. Modi bent over backwards to please Trump. With a belligerent China and a not so friendly Russia, Modi has no choice but to continue with the US. At least till the great wet dream of aatmanirbharta is realized!

  9. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    The main issue with Indo-Americans is their subconscious acceptance of Caucasians as their Masters. They go out of their way in pleasing the Whites (ruling establishment)

    The Indo-Americans should get rid of their self conceived, inferiority complex. The Whites stole the land from native tribes, (so called Red Indians) USA is a land of immigrants. No race should feel inferior in comparison to the other.

    Strong, self assured Indo-Americans, who are well aware of the positives as well as the negatives of both India as well as USA need to step forward and make their voices heard.

    • As I said in a recent post, high-achiever 2nd and 3rd generation Americans of Indian origin — having made it, do not in any way feel “inferior”. But in government they do act as if they need to disprove their ethnic loyalty to India.

      • Amit says:

        One observation I’ve made about Indian Americans is that local politics is making them more polarized. And those that come to political power do so on strong political platforms and views. This is especially true in the anglosphere countries, more so in the US, Canada and the UK. Liberal indian politicians whether they are first generation of 2nd, are politically tied to their positions even before they come to power. So we have the likes of Pramila JayPaul who is first generation and Ro Khanna who is second. Yet they take anti Modi stances due to their left leaning biases. Many Indian Americans opposed Trump but support Modi, however many Democrat Indian Americans have become more polarized due to American Politics. I think going forward India will really need to manage diaspora politics in the Anglosphere (including Australia and NZ), as politics becomes more polarized globally. This is not a question of confidence, but local politics impacting foreign relations (both ways, India and the US/Anglosphere countries which are democracies).

    • I disagree – the new Biden cabinet is full of progressives. The Indo-American members would want to impose some of the Western economic systems and best practices on the current bureaucratic/ineffective Indian system and unleash India’s full potential. India has the potential to match China in ecoomical prowess but is lagging behind due poor leadership and zero vision from these leaders who would rather play the ethnicity and divisive card than do the needful. These indo-Americans must be viewed as partners in pursuit of an incredible India.

    • Jacky says:

      You are right, I agree with you!

  10. Marco A Ciaccia says:

    Dear Sir, as far as my experience with US military planners is concerned, I am quite assured that the human rights issue will come after a large, bipartisan, whole-strategic consideration: the 2020 Great Reset geopolitically means Washington has come to terms with Chinese rise and, instead of checking it as they tried to do in early 2000s via Iraq occupation, they are tuning to a Sino-American dual world hegemony whereby EU fits in as a major trading bloc, mostly subdued to Peking and Washington, and Russia and Japan are scarcely noticeable. In such a dual hegemonic world, and considering the devastating toll that the epidemy has exacted to Germany, EU’s core, the only clashing point would be Afghanistan, i.e. Central Asia. This means China is set to use CPEC and other means first, then exploit the Afghan vacuum after US retreat. Looking west to better hit east (Taiwan) would be a good Chinese “chessboard” move, one that late Kissinger would naively appreciate as a show of “Chinese superior diplomacy”. ONLY a Pakistan-Indian accord on strategic, military and intelligence domain (with NO support whatsover from Washington, of course) would prevent China from making such broad moves. I don’t know how Indian-American diplomats fit in the picture, but surely de-ideologisation of faith issues (Islam, Kashmir) would assist the efforts and mind frame of highly educated South Asian academics and officials, ideally creating a sort of Indo-Pakistan solidarity in the Washington intelligence community.

  11. Received via email:
    Joydeep Sircar
    Wed, 20 Jan at 8:01 pm

    Excellent analysis of lndian-Americans on Biden team, they will opt for the liberal-pleasing muslim-appeasing ploy of sniping at India. But the immensely powerful Jewish lobby is on our side, and so are the military, who have woken up at last and discovered China is quite as lethal an enemy as Russia.A staunch outright defiance of US pressure will work quicker and better than Jaishankar’s oily appeasement. The US defence lobby will be loth to piss off a good customer for airy-fairy human rights notions with France and Russia in the wings waiting to step in.

    And if the pressure grows too much, a megaton test will bring everybody to his senses pretty damned quick.


    • MrMister says:

      @joydeep sircar —

      “they will opt for the liberal-pleasing muslim-appeasing ploy of sniping at India”

      Rooting for the oppressed underdogs isn’t necessarily a “ploy.” It could simply be a small sign of righteousness (which many humans naturally tend towards), as much as that elusive virtue can be applied to politicians.

      You see, Mr.Sircar doesn’t seem to find any issue with how this particular minority is being targeted, and targeted they are, for anyone without nationalist blinders to see. The Hindu nationalists may wish to obfuscate those pesky facts, but the world has begun to notice, sirs.

      Anyway, what has all this bluster from hardened so-called Indian nationalists (Mr.Sircar appears to talk tough all the time) done for the prosperity and security of India? I know… zilch!

      This also reminds me of a certain anchor who could also be called a “hardened Indian nationalist,” until a week or so. Well, that is how he portrayed himself anyway. We all know now what kind of “nationalists” they are.

      Mr. Karnad should write a biting essay about such “nationalists.”

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        @Mr Mister — A valid point. I always tell these pseudo nationalists BJP Bhakts. Why don’t you folks target the types of Salman Khan instead of harassing poor Muslim fruit, vegetable, meat vendors?

        Chant “Bharat Mataa kii jaii”. Brand everyone questioning Modi as anti-nationals, traitors, Pakistani agents while, on the other hand, indulge in all kind of criminal and corrupt activities. This is the new definition of ‘Nationalism’ under Modi government.

    • Ram says:

      @Joydeep Sircar,

      I am afraid your assessment is quite off the mark. Not sure if you have been only referring to Indian (government propaganda) news channels.

      The US military commanders, during Congress hearings, have painted a not so rosy picture for the US troops, should an all out war break out. If the US (with all its allies put together) with superior technology is finding it increasingly difficult to contain China, do we stand a chance ?

      The current government may have inherited legacy issues. But has it worked for its remedial or made it worse? Its focused only on winning elections with religious bigotry and not serious governance. Therefore, a war with India doesn’t behoove China which only sees the US as equal to itself. It doesn’t have to wage an actual war with any country in Asia to achieve its objectives. Even as we speak, here are some plain facts –

      – Russia is increasingly beholden to China and in the anti US camp. Except for selling arms, there’s nothing much it can do. If simply buying arms would have won wars, then even Pakistan and Saudi Arabia (largest arms buyer) would have been a Super Power by now.

      – Use of nuclear weapons is out of question in case of a war. Even if things escalate over Taiwan, they will never reach the nuclear threshold. A compromise would eventually be reached between the two.

      – China has nearly replaced India in Iran’s Chahbahar and bought massive oil fields in Iraq. In the years to come, with the string of pearls strategy, it will strengthen its presence with ports in Myanmar, Pakistan, Iran and of course Srilanka.

      – What has perhaps missed attention is – It is not just building these mega infrastructures, but also insisting on presence of PLA troops in these countries for securing them (since they are funded by China). A similar setup for CPEC has already blunted our nuclear edge. Any attempt to escalate a conventional war with Pakistan or take it to the nuclear threshold will automatically invite China’s wrath since half a million of its troops are present in Pakistan permanently.

      Its recent announcement of constructing dams over the rivers in Tibet – entering as Brahmaputra in India and finally pours into Bangladesh should have us worried. Bangladesh will indeed be more concerned and I shudder to think what concessions (inimical to India’s interests) from her will be extracted to soften the blow.

  12. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    In China, the narrative is that India crossed the LAC and was the aggressor. Chinese side was defending its territory. If one tries to debate, the counter usually is “you are relying on Indian as well as the Western Media, all of whom are biased against China”.

    Eight rounds of talks to resolve the issue have failed to yield any results. Chinese are master manipulators in bidding time. Their favorite trick is pretending not to know English language. No fixed date for the 9th round of meeting has been fixed anyways, it’s crystal clear by now that meetings will not resolve this stand-off.

    What happens when snow starts melting in the region around late March-early April?

    Will the Indian side make an attempt to reclaim its lost area? Would the Chinese attempt further intrusions into the Indian territory?

  13. Gaurav Tyagi says:

    A few extracts from the aforesaid article;

    Gujarat has renamed dragon fruit because of the original name’s “association with China”

    Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the fruit would now be called kamalam, Sanskrit for the Lotus flower.

    India began cultivating dragon fruit only in recent years and it’s now grown in parts of Gujarat too. It belongs to a family of cactus – and is believed to have earned its fearsome name because its pointy outer layer resembles the scales of a dragon.

    Though it’s a tropical fruit native to Central America and is largely imported from South America, many in India associate it with China because of its name.

    The state’s decision to rename the fruit was announced on Tuesday by Mr Rupani.

    “The name dragon fruit is not proper, and due to its name one thinks of China. So we have given it the name ‘kamalam’,” Mr Rupani told the local press.

    • Mohit says:

      @Gaurav Tyagi — It’s just joke or nothing.

      • Gaurav Tyagi says:

        It’s not a joke. The news source is BBC. It ain’t 1st April yet.

        This shows the mental level of BJP politicians. India surely is on a path of economic/social/strategic ruin with such morons in power.

  14. abcd says:

    They are not underdogs they are bullies and only way to blunt this bullies is to take the war into their house and hit at their jaundiced roots which stems from their islamic delusions of grandeur.There is no right and wrong if you are strong your wrongs will also be worshipped like we worship their invasion and conquest.We are the underdogs not them.They have capacity to retaliate through their jihadi tanzeems for their imagined grievances with transnational capacity which didnt spare even US so much for underdogs.Unless we develop such kind of rapid retaliatiory capabilities and demonstrate it against their so called jihad we will be weak.This so called root cause is a fig leaf used by them to further their islamic goals and kps gill aptly demonstrated how to get peace without solving this root cause issues in punjab

  15. Hgs says:

    In this matter we should ally with china, russia and other like minded countries to show US the mirror and document atrocities , faultlines,create parallel bodies which monitors human rights in US.Even after capitol riots this suckers believe in going around sermonizing other countries about democracy.We should be very wary and cynical when it comes to this indian origin a**holes who are desperate to show how american they are.

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