Page 62 - IACC Newsletter March-April 2014 Issue 03

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“and finally, to strengthen a Liberal international order and an open global economy that safeguard human dignity and
foster peaceful development.
“As we seek to take our strategic partnership with India to the next level, it is important for U.S. leaders to reach out
personally to Prime Minister Modi, especially in light of recent history. That is largely why I am traveling to India next
week. And that is why I am pleased that President Obama invited the Prime Minister to visit Washington. I wish he had
extended that invitation sooner, but it is positive nonetheless. When the Prime Minister comes to Washington, I urge
our congressional leaders to invite him to address a joint session of Congress. I can imagine no more compelling scene
than the elected leader of the world’s largest democracy addressing the elected representatives of the world’s oldest
“And yet, we must be clear-eyed about those issues that could weaken our strategic partnership. One is Afghanistan.
Before it was a safe-haven for the terrorists who attacked America on September 11, 2001, Afghanistan was a base for
terrorists that targeted India. Our Indian friends remember this well, even if we do not. For this reason, I am deeply
concerned about the consequences of the President’s plan to pull all of our troops out of Afghanistan by 2016, not only
for U.S. national security, but also for the national security of our friends in India.
“If Afghanistan goes the way of Iraq in the absence of U.S. forces, it would leave India with a clear and present danger on
its periphery. It would constrain India’s rise and its ability to devote resources and attention to shared foreign policy
challenges elsewhere in Asia and beyond. It could push India toward deeper cooperation with Russia and Iran in order to
manage the threats posed by a deteriorating Afghanistan. And it would erode India’s perception of the credibility and
capability of U.S. power and America’s reliability as a strategic partner.
“The bottom line here is clear: India and the United States have a shared interest in working together to end the scourge
of extremism and terrorism that threatens stability, freedom, and prosperity across South Asia, and beyond. The
President’s current plan to disengage from Afghanistan is a step backward from this goal, and thus does not serve the
U.S.-India strategic partnership. “For all of these reasons, and more, I hope the President will be open to re-evaluating,
and revising, his withdrawal plan in light of conditions on the ground.
“Another hurdle on which our partnership could stumble is our resolve to see it through amid domestic political
concerns and short-term priorities that threaten to push our nations apart. For most of the last century, the logic of a
U.S.-India partnership was compelling, but its achievement eluded us. We have finally begun to explore the real
potential of this partnership over the past two decades, but we have barely scratched the surface, and the gains we have
made remain fragile and reversible, as our largely stalled progress over the past few years can attest.
“If India and the United States are to build a truly strategic partnership, we must each commit to it and defend it in
equal measure. We must each build the public support needed to sustain our strategic priorities. And we must resist the
domestic forces in each of our countries that would turn our strategic relationship into a transactional one – one defined
not by the shared strategic goals we achieve together, but by what parochial concessions we extract from one another.
If we fail in these challenges, we will fall far short of our potential, as we have before.
“It is this simple: If the 21
century is defined more by peace than war, more by prosperity than misery, and more by
freedom than tyranny, I believe future historians will look back and point to the fact that a strategic partnership was
consummated between the world’s two preeminent democratic powers, India and the United States. If we keep this
vision of our relationship always uppermost in our minds, there is no dispute we cannot resolve, no investment in each
other’s success we cannot make, and nothing we cannot accomplish together.”