All posts in the Diplomat category

Foreign Policy Under Narendra Modi Part – 2 : Rapport and NRIs…

Published June 1, 2015 by vishalvkale

It is said by many that one of the highpoints is the excellent personal rapport NaMo has with other leaders, and how it will benefit  FP. Maybe, maybe not; again, time will tell. As on date, the result is zero. Precisely zero, and hoopla, based on myth and an incomplete understanding and media hype. I do not deny benefits of a personal rapport; but let us not overstate it. Personal Rapport and Cultural Ties are only door openers, and are completely useless when the door is already open, In Foreign Policy, the $ and the Bullet {meaning brute power} reigns supreme.

Further, it is noteworthy that the same Prime Minister of India, before he became a Prime Minister, was targeted and branded {almost} by Western Nations as something less than nice. And now, the moment he becomes Prime Minister, the same nations’ leaders’, who previously branded Mr Narendra Modi without any proof whatsoever, flouting all international norms – which tantamounts to intervention in Indian affairs – are avowing personal connects. That tells the whole story; it is a mere strategic ploy given India’s status and purported / imagined role in their eyes; and Mr Narendra Modi’s mature and leader-like approach in moving on from the ugly past.

This mature and respect-worthy approach only shows NaMo as a true leader, a patriot, a thinking individual who understands what the nation needs, and ensures no baggage due to past issues. Nothing more and nothing less. He is the leader of the most ancient nation on the planet, one of the rising nations, strategically located, with good prospects and an internal business environment conducive to and aligned with western norms, practices, language, systems and processes : a nation that has justifiable claim to being a World Leader. Thus it is no surprise that the Western Nations would avow personal connects and want to forget the past – they too have nations to run, and wont want to harm their own self-interests. That is all there is to this personal connect stuff.  

Regarding cultural affinity and our penchant for idolizing non-Indians; we now have an American Ambassador whose ancestors hail from India {cannot say Indian-American : you cant have two mothers}; despite that, the American Policy is as hardline as ever, An unprecedented number of American Hindus are now in Government; no definable benefit has accrued to India in strategic terms, and that is a fact. High time we Indians realised that these cultural ties are useless in strategic terms. If these people loved India, or cared about India, they would not have surrendered their citizenship, which to me is like changing your mother, and adopting new parents. They are aliens, not Indians. No benefit can accrue from them – apart from cashing the cultural similarity and a shared past to get them to invest, which is what the NaMo strategy is all about.

Only an Indian Citizen is an Indian, Period. Further, Dr Manmohan Singh enjoyed an excellent rapport with President Obama; look where that lead us. Rapport doesn’t count where the decisions are taken on hardcore strategic parameters, sorry to say so! Neither does cultural affinity win over hardcore business and strategic decisions, be it in business or be it in Foreign Policy. These decisions are taken from a pure play strategic and ROI perspective, period.
Long term positive gains imply a major shift in policy for both the USA and China. Would anyone care to state how that shift will come about in both power dynamics and Trade? Please dont state people-to-people contacts; P2P contacts are the least important paradigm for consideration in appraising a Foreign Policy. If Modi has made a connect with American, Australians of Indian Ancestry, no benefit accrues to India which it would not get otherwise in trade; and none in Power. This community lacks the connections and the power levers in their nations to make even a tiny dent in their policies – as contemporary history proves. This makes P2P useless from a strategic perspective. On trade, interest rate differential and higher growth will ensure Money flows into India Modi or no Modi. Makes no difference whatsoever.

Modi’s FP successes will come; but not from USA or China; they are immaterial. They will come from Russia, Japan, Israel – and Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Burma, if he continues the good work started there. Please understand : I did not claim that the FP is a failure. I clearly state that it is too early to comment. That is one. Two, the sad part is that NaMo is being praised for steps that are ceremonial in nature, a facade as it were; while his real categorical moves lie ignored, which is a sad comment on our people and their analytical abilities, as well as the blind following habit which is now endemic to our nation.
He has re-crafted the entire relationship with Israel; is that good, or is that bad? I am yet to read a fully devoted article on this point anywhere, at least highlighted anywhere. This stands as a long overdue step, one which marks the policy as coming out of the diffident mode it was in earlier with regard to Israel, and a major rebalancing vis-a-vis the Middle East. We have no idea as yet what the repercussions or the benefits will be.

He has moved the relationship with Pakistan up several notches in terms of aggression; No more the diffident and hands-off approach. The new approach is blunt, in your face – and clear. We are for peace; just don’t push us. We know how to push back, and hard. Pakistan stands relegated, with complete disinterest in peace talks unless Pakistan stops talking with the Bullet, a hardline security paradigm in response to Pakistan, and a renewed world-view.

The way Russia has been handled is tremendous; he has pulled back Russia into the fold, signing major deals with Putin while jabbing pointless nonsense with the Americans who prefer more of “showmanship” than any real business or relationship with India. Indicate West, But turn East at its best. Well done, Sir! He has also upgraded India in the relationship with Russia as well as Asia. Our Neighbours are feeling for the first time an India that cares, and that is NaMo’s biggest FP achievement.

The Russians have withdrawn quite substantially from selling Arms to Pakistan in response to our negotiations with them – this the Americans haven’t done despite innumerable proofs of the misuse of their weapons against India by both the Indian Govt. as well as Americans themselves; can they {Russians} be blamed? We take arms from the Americans; have been for years! That is diplomacy and strategy. Rightly stated : reducing dependency.
The tragedy is we are actually celebrating his connect with a people who left India, and made another culture and nation their home; that is nothing to celebrate about. Had these people cared, they would have come back to India eventually, or at least kept their citizenship,  or have stayed in India; this they didn’t do : as I noted earlier : If these people loved India, or cared about India, they would not have surrendered their citizenship. The greatest tragedy is our continuing love affair with Non-Residents and PIOs : witness our news which carries long articles on spelling bee winners, pageant winners in detail, but cannot find the space for 2 lines on any number of truly Indian successes, by people living in India. {Kailash – ring a bell, anyone? When did we notice him? High time we stopped idolizing NRIs and PIOs, and looked for and supported Indian Success stories instead – any number of them to choose from, should we so desire}

These people, may I remind people here – are those that found other nations better than India as places to live. That is nothing praiseworthy, in my humble opinion. Our relationship with them is purely business : being from the same culture, they can find it far easier to do business here. Period. Nothing to celebrate. We have loads of Indian Examples to Celebrate; high time we learnt to have some pride in us as a nation.

In conclusion, let us all sit back and relax just a little, and rise above the hype and the hoopla. Let us not try and paint this Government as a messiah and a knight in shining armour stuff hyperbole which is unrealistic. Foreign Policy requires time, secrecy, commitment and action; not words. It is the follow-up to the visits that are far more important , and the preamble to the visits; the visits are merely media hype and showmanship. The work has all been done prior to the visits, by and large! Let us also not commit the cardinal sin of branding all actions by this Government as bad; most are good actions, well though-out. That does not mean they haven’t made mistakes; but give credit where credit is due!

Foreign Policy Under Narendra Modi – Part 1

Published May 31, 2015 by vishalvkale

A lot of euphoria and hero-worshipping is doing the rounds regarding our Foreign Policy under the new dispensation; in this article, I make an attempt to place things in the proper perspective, and highlight the problem areas as well as the successes in a relatively contained and short article. All is not hunky-dory; a lot remains to be revealed, and lot of it is pure hype which has no basis or substance whatsoever. We need to be able to differentiate the wheat from the chaff; this is what I have attempted.

A lot is being made about the improved image; In FP, image means almost nothing; it is relatively immaterial. FP is a matter of hardcore strategy, deliverance on words, hard power, and economic give and take. How a nation is perceived is of no relevance; what matters is its economic performance and security paradigms and direction. Thus, a better global image makes us feels better as Indians, but counts for precisely nothing in Diplomacy, and that is an absolute. If you sift away the hyperbole and focus on the hard facts, there are no achievements – precisely zero as on date in FP by this Government. FP changes take time to reveal themselves; let us wait and see.

To be frank, there is a decided lack of direction in the current foreign policy; this may be due to the churning that inevitably takes place when course is altered; that is true – but, as on date, from a strategic perspective it is all mixed up. India’s established course over the past 67 years has been fundamentally altered; some needed steps – long overdue – taken; but a lot of confusion prevails – and that is the way it should be in FP for a new Government with high expectations. What matters is the absence of gaffes, and presence of definable good steps. Only time will tell regarding FP, it is way too early.

As on date, there are demonstrably no achievements that would not have taken place otherwise {without NaMo}, apart from the hoopla among the Non-Resident population and the PIO population, who are immaterial insofaras strategy is concerned.  The direction is unclear as on date; remains to be seen what the net result is. NaMo has changed many a paradigm of our FP, and the effects in FP can only be observed over a long period of time. Personally, I am extremely uncomfortable with the FP as on date; at least insofaras USA, Israel and China are concerned.

There is no record of even one nation {non-European / Developing} that has benefited from a close association with the USA; quite the opposite. Add to that the recent revelations on arms aids, and the billions of dollars worth of Arms being given to Pakistan, which decidedly harms Indian interests,  and the differences on intelligence sharing- the net result seems negative. To top it all are the manifest differences on Economic and Trade issues where we are lined on diametrically opposite sides of the debate, added to the pressure tactics of the USA. It is still supplying arms to Pakistan – in fact, it has actually increased them, I think; the pressure game in various economic fields remains as it is- AMS, IPR et al. Sensitive technologies still not being given. No change – whatever happened would have happened anyway, had anyone else been in charge, and that is a fact. India and the USA are not going to be friends anytime soon!

USA is playing upto India not due to NaMo, but due to China, and that is also a fact; history repeats itself – read the period 1954-1960 and the Tibet imbroglio. The preceding silence to these elections was due to the elections themselves; everyone was hedging their bets. The global economy is in a major downswing, making India an attractive bet in terms of markets. China’s rise is making Unka Sammie mighty hot under the collar, and the Japanese look askance, In this scenario, regardless of who was in charge, insofaras USA, China are concerned, there has been no positive or negative impact – except hype and hyperbole, driven by an NRI/PIO population, and an indigenous population which for some strange reason idolizes these Non-Indians and Non-Residents Indians.

Recall the previous time India and China tried to come close. On China, I am afraid he may be wrong. I cannot forget the last time we went into Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai. The situation is the same; the precise same as in the Mid-50s, with USA gunning for China, wanting India on board. The Armed Forces in need of Weapons, and a general euphoria of Bhai-Bhai. The only saving grace is NaMo is far more pragmatic than other Indian leaders. Let us see; I have high hopes that he will handle it in an adroit fashion; judging from his China visit. But he as a leader can afford to play two roles- Security, and trade whereas we, as people, need to avoid euphoria in the case of China, and not hope for dramatic changes; they wont happen.

And ME-Israel? That is a sea-change : requires deep analysis for a thorough perspective. Let us all keep silent here; this is complicated and will require time to manifest. It seems a natural, an Israel with whom we have a deep scientific {Agriculture, Defence} and security commonality,  and one which has been courting India quietly all these years, as well as openly supporting it. But we have to factor in The Middle East, and that is what makes this matter complex. Silence is best on this; time will tell. My personal view is that the shift towards Israel was long overdue.

Nothing has changed fundamentally. Russia is still our only friend; and will remain our only friend in the near future. The USA, for all its pointless words, has not changed even one small sub-sub-paragraph of either its security policy or its economic policy, a few unimportant trinkets here and there apart. On a basic level, if you remove all trappings, as I observed above a lot remains unexplained. Only time will tell. The rest is all hoopla, and has no substance whatsoever. Rather than celebrate and jump for joy, let us not create a hype and hoopla, and give this Government time, as at long last, there is an aggressive government in FP, one which is taking long-overdue decisions, one of which I alluded to above.

As regards money and investments- given the Global Scenario, you cant expect anything else. Will it actually happen? Extremely doubtful. Project implementation has to pick up, and that requires police, political and administrative reform. Land Bill etc wont change one single iota of the on-ground reality. What matters is how we develop our own internal capabilities; if that is in line, the money and the investments will come.

The Misunderstood Hindu

Published July 2, 2014 by vishalvkale

As I noted in my previous post, the targeting of the BJP among a set of hardcore religious fundamentalist organisations, most with militant and armed wings – armed with the latest arms and weapons, with a history of armed struggle behind them – is highly suggestive, and confirms the stereotype the West holds us Indians, and especially Hindus, in, as well as underscores the colored glasses and biases held by the West towards Hindus. It pains me, a confirmed moderate, to use these words; but I now have no choice but to call it like it is. 

The list is extremely though provoking, and incites deep questions, disquieting questions, for the BJP is chosen as one among a series of hardcore fundamentalist organisations, equating the approach of the BJP with these organisations, all of rest of which have far more serious repercussions for the USA than the BJP; all with either a chequered or violent history, and all of them being from unstable nations, or Islamic nations, or nations in deep strife – or nations with established terrorism-supporting history. 

By clubbing the BJP with these, the USA has straightaway equated India with these nations – which makes for a wonderful reading : Pakistan, Venezuela, Egypt, Bolivia! India, with its established history of calm and peace, and focus on solving its own internal problems; India, with its non-aggressive culture, internal focus and non-expansionist mindset – is no threat to anyone, and cannot be called a flash-point either. We have proven the ability to sort out our own problems without crying or complaint. 

By targeting the BJP with such  an august list, one straight point has been irrevocably made – the West, especially the USA, does not understand Hinduism, and does not understand India, or its politics or its culture or even its ground realities. It further equates the BJP with they call fundamentalist Hinduism, which can be the only reason for this unacceptable clubbing. 

This can only happen when a nation’s internal realities are not understood by a super-power, and its culture is equated with other cultures. It just cannot see beyond its own narrow conceptualisation of the nation, of the state. It confuses Hinduism with other religions, and also confuses Indian nationality and internal truths with its own biased perceptions, without serious engagement with, or attempt to understand the truth. 

First, Hinduism is not equal to India, and India is not equal to Hinduism. One is a religion and the other a nation. We are a nation of several religions, all of which exist in complete equality. The special privileges to minorities are constitutionally protected, and the state does not equate itself with any religion. Neither does the majority religion – Hinduism make any attempt to do so. There are calls to dismantle some of these – true, but these are dealt with in true democratic fashion, which is our own internal right, as a sovereign nation. 

Hindus, or any of its “supposed” socio-cultural organisations do not target non-Hindus in India. Violent, systematic targeting and vicious targeting is all but absent and sporadic outbursts of violence do not deny this fundamental reality. In fact, the various sub-sects of the minorities peacefully exist in India – unlike any other country, including the USA. No religion is preferred; in fact, the minorities receive special privileges.  We Hindus can differentiate between our religion and our nation. 

Hinduism, even in its most aggressive avatar, isnt even a patch on some of the other fundamentalist scenes we see around the world, and especially so when compared to others on the list. The most aggressive avatar of Hinduism : 

  • does not provoke the spread of extermination; 
  • does not target minorities in the fashion of the others;
  • does not spread armed extremism as in the Islamic world; 
  • does not advocate any  set of oppressive laws; 
  • does not seek to build a political identity across political borders; 
  • does not seek to build a pan-Hindu identity; 
  • does not seek modern arms, or advocate militancy; 
  • does not exterminate populations; 
  • does not seek to spread outside India; 
  • and it does not differentiate between internal streams of thought in Hinduism – unlike the other major religions!

The entire focus of even the most fundamental Hindu is the recognition of India as a Hindu state – which, first of all, is devoid of any fundamentalist overtones as indicated above. The focus is internal – on India; and poses no international threat to any nation. This is an entirely Indian problem, with no one having any locus standi on it. We can deal with it internally, and have the institutions and laws to deal with this by our own selves without any intervention, as recent history has proven beyond any shade of doubt. 

The sad part is that historically, it is the Hindu identity that has been the most viciously targeted by 

  • oppression, 
  • suppression, 
  • external violence, 
  • forced conversion, 
  • destruction of places of worship,
  • denigration of and direct, targeted insults to the religion and its followers,
  • innuendo and false impressions,
  • torture and pain,
  • Racist intolerant views, and 
  • biased, one-sided portrayal of its practices combined with derisive and insulting coverage of its proponents

We have been suppressed for more than  hundreds of years, within our own land; we were forced into practically beggarly existence in the lap of our own mother. Despite this persecution, we opted for a secular polity in the interest of peace – with complete separation of religion and the state, unlike even the USA. We are still made fun of, poked at, derided and insulted on a routine basis by the Westerner in facebook posts, social media, news articles, books, news channels and newspapers. All bad happenings are still blown out of all proportion in international media, with its jaundiced, prejudiced and one-sided portrayal of India and Hinduism both. 

India is the only land where all Islamic sects enjoy peaceful co-existence. India is the only land where all religions enjoy a peaceful coexistence, without state discrimination. And most critically, India is probably the only land most fundamentally impacted by the scourge of Islamic Terrorism. We live surrounded by enemies; we are the closest to Islamic terror. Not only that, we also have the highest {or second-highest} population of Muslims in the world. And yet, By The Grace Of The Lord, India is the one nation that has remained relatively at peace when the rest of the Islamic world goes up in flames!

You will not find a Hindu poking fun at other religions, or questioning them, or deriding them. At least, not as much as others, especially westerners. The Hindu will not intervene in other religions – at times, even when it impacts his or her own practices. This is a tribute to my religion and its openness that allows fundamental thoughts to coexist with moderate & even liberal thoughts, and compete with each other without dogmas and dictats of any kind. It is a further tribute to my land as well as my religion, which ensures peace for all religions.

Despite all this persecution, derision and misunderstandings, The Hindu remains resolute in his faith, non-violent, calm, difficult to arouse, and internally focused. Yes, we have problems – and big ones. Yes, there have been incidences of sectarian violence, which is sad especially considering our tolerance. But what is more important is that we are dealing with these issues on our own, within our own laws, without disturbing other nations. And the people- including The Hindus themselves – are probing, questioning and self-examining. We do not want trouble; there are forces active who are questioning the background, and taking-  or trying to – take corrective action.

Be it Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians, Or Sikhs… we Indians are dealing with our own problems within our own land without disturbing anyone. This is a tribute to followers of all Religions of this Great Land. And this makes us more mature, developed and calm a people than any other nation on Earth. That is the key : without disturbing or involving anyone. If we are wrong, we will pay for it. If we are right, we Indians will reap the benefit. The message : Stay the hell out of our problems. We can deal with them!

It is crystal clear, and has been for some time now, that the USA as well as most of the West continues to map its own perceptions on our internal realities, and confuse right-wing politics and/or what they love to call Hindutva with Fundamentalism. It is a known fact that even the most aggressive Hinduism is not even a patch on other religions, as I observe above. My advice to all such ladies and gentlemen : make an effort to understand Hinduism, its history, its internal realities. You dont have even an iota’s worth of concept of what we are, how advanced we are in our thoughts, and how positively ridiculous your suspicions are. Try and understand us- in place of deriding us – which, incidentally reveals more regarding your nature and exposes you more than us!


Published January 24, 2014 by vishalvkale

The Devyani Khobragade episode is slowly receding from public memory & media attention, on the back of a gag order, behind-the-scenes diplomacy and a wish to move forward from both the involved parties. Having said that, every once in a while, a tit-bit of news or information does reach us that indicates that all is not well, and is in reality very very far from being well. The continued aggression by India on the US Embassy Visa issues and Taxation issues, as well as Salman Khurshid’s insistence on Trafficking Visas, combined with Indian insistence that USA drop all charges indicates that it will be a very long time before things normalize between us and the USA.
At this point, it is important that we do a post-mortem on the entire event, and try and determine what went wrong, or at least what the reasons this happened, as well as analyse the USA’s behavior. I have analysed the Indian response in the previous  2 articles on this matter; {Self Respect Vs Trade; Strategic Partnership} and a full analysis on what went wrong is obviously beyond the scope of my blog given that I lack full information on the event. That leaves an analysis of the USA’s responses – which is critical, all the more so since any analysis done now will be far more balanced than when the bonhomie is back between our 2 nations. Further, this has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence on the part of any party – US School, US Embassy, Tax Issues, Visa Issues or even Devyani Khobragade. 
Before we get into the specific post-mortem, let us remind ourselves of the strides that have been made in this relationship (at least till Dec 12th, 2013) – just so that the entire matter is put into perspective. India and the USA had been described as the defining partnership of the 21st Century by politicians from both sides of this debate, right till the last level. India, which had a healthy distrust of getting into defense deals with the USA, was just beginning to shed its reticence. There were indications of a wide-ranging partnership on several important areas ranging from Space, to Defense, to Energy and more. India was being touted as a possible counterpoint to China. This is the backdrop of the matter at hand. And, it is noteworthy that the USA let Russians, being investigated for far more serious crimes – including consular officials, leave the country. It is also noteworthy that the USA did not respond to several Indian approaches and letters made to the USA in reply to its September communication. Put all of the above together – and the picture that forms is not a very healthy one, or indeed one that augurs well for a continued healthy relationship. 
The total disregard for the numerous Indian approaches by the state department in the USA – and it is a fact that India had been approaching for this case from a very long time – sets a very disturbing precedent. As does the disregard for the Indian warrant – justified warrant or not, fact remains that a warrant is a warrant – and the disregard for Indian laws and judiciary as is evident from the almost surreptitious removal of the family from India. This, when taken in the light of the partnership statements in above, point to two things – first, that India does not count for much in the eyes of the USA – or, as is claimed in the Media, The Obama Administration. Keep this last point in mind – I shall attempt to connect it up in Scenario – 2. 
The fact that they chose to ignore Indian laws, Vienna conventions with specific regard to treatment of diplomats even if under arrest, Indian Judiciary and the Indo-US partnership conclusively proves that there is no importance given to this relationship. I can make an allowance for the now-known fact that there have been major differences in the positions of the 2 sides – but the manner and the attitude of the approach as well as the way this issue was handled within the USA from start to finish, suggest that there is no genuineness in the US’ statements of a partnership – let alone a strategic partnership. If you value a partnership, you ought to have at least responded to the many Indian overtures on this matter. That they chose to studiously ignore all such overtures is conclusive. 
Put all of the above together – and the word you can spell is arrogance. This seems to be sheer arrogance and nothing else – a belief that you can ride roughshod over the position of a large nation of 1.27 billion people such as India, and a mistaken confidence in your own ability to disregard international conventions, norms as well as opinion. This is clearly evident in any number of previous spats the USA has found itself in. A case in point is the spy saga, when the USA spied on even its own partners like Germany and others, without a single thought to their opinions, and their response if found. This is also proven by the US refusal – consistent refusal to apologise. 
The willingness of the USA to take on the ire of even their closest partners, and the willingness to break all established norms of international discourse as in the spy saga, point to a colossal arrogance – the arrogance of the lone superpower, the arrogance of the party that knows that there is no nation, or indeed group of nations on Planet Earth, that can take it head-on either militarily, or in trade. We need to analyse this carefully – and ask ourselves is this the right path to take? Will this arrogance become out-of-hand? Can anyone say with any degree of certainty that this arrogance will not become even more over-bearing, and reach a level that can become harmful? 
A close analysis of the past year or so will reveal that the USA has been under constant pressure, and has been on the back-foot consistently – spy saga, Edward Snowden, DK episode et al. It has been regularly placed in the unfamiliar position of defending its actions, and saving face. In some cases, it has required a significant climb-down from previous positions. The events have seriously dented the image of the USA across the world, which is now increasingly viewed as a rogue nation, or at least a serious problem. Yet, this has done precisely nothing to its approach of steamrolling everyone in its path, whatever be the issue. 
An analysis of the statements in the aftermath of the DK episode makes it even more interesting. You had John Kerry and the US Ambassador expressing regret; you have denials of bad treatment; you had clarifications regarding an ugly video that emerged. Later on, it emerged that apparently, they were as angry as we were when this episode emerged; you had the US Defense Department putting pressure for a solution; isolated voices calling this a big mistake; statements that they did not expect such a response from India of all countries. Compare and contrast this with India, which was speaking in one voice – the Government, The Opposition – everyone was united, and spoke in one voice. 
This leads us to a few questions – does the lack of the chance of a response mean you can insult a friendly nation, break its laws, and ignore all its efforts to sort this matter out before it exploded? Furthermore, what does the multiplicity of voices emanating from within the USA mean? What does the fact that the state department can proceed against an important representative of one of your most vital partners, despite misgivings within your own people, mean? How is it that the USA, with its acknowledged abilities, was not able to foretell the Indian response despite having an example in Italy, mean? How can a change of guard-  Bush to Obama, fundamentally alter the nature of an important relationship? How is such a major nation see-sawing in its approach? How is it that a change of one man or a few people, totally alter your approach?
Contrast with India, which has shown a steadiness in approach on Foreign Policy as well as internal economics, despite the many changes it has experienced! Viewed from afar, the Indian approach, one of constancy in one direction, comes across as far more mature, its shortcomings notwithstanding! But what does it state regarding the lone superpower? It does not instill confidence in its internal systems, procedures and processes, for one. Second, the presence of a multiplicity of internal voices, added to the power within one department that can bring a vital partnership almost to an end – raises a serious question for all of us, a question from which we cannot duck. Namely, just who is in control in the USA?