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Global Perceptions

P.R. Chari

By Baldev Raj Nayar
Manohar Book Service, 1976, 246, 50.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 1 January-February 1977

Indo-U.S. relations have followed a turbulent course. The appreciation of American support to India's Indepen­dence struggle was soon dissipated by the U.S. arming of Pakistan following their Mutual Aid Treaty of 1954. There­after U.S. sympathy for India, in the wake of the Chinese aggression, again led to high expectations. But their attempt to secure a Kashmir settlement favourable to Pakistan and the negative U.S. response to the supply of modern arms turned India towards the Soviet Union. Indo-U.S. relations reached their nadir in 1971. U.S. inability to restrain Pakistan's genocidal East Bengal policy, leading to the stream of refugees into India, and the spectre of a U.S.­China-Pakistan axis culminated in the Indo-Soviet Treaty. The Enterprise episode brought the relationship to its lowest depths. A revival of interest followed Kissinger's promises to India in 1974; it appeared that U.S. policy had reconciled itself to the new subconti­nental realities. Such hopes, however, proved premature since the arms embar­go was lifted in early 1975, permitting the United States an option to arm Pakistan afresh. Dr. Nayar's thesis seeks a conceptua­lization of the asymmetry in Indo-U.S. strategic interactions. As a global power the United States is determined to extend its influence into the Indian subcontinent. India ‘quite early in its independent life arrogated to itself the privileges of a putative independent con­trol of power’, and is determined to preserve its primacy in the region. Those are the roots of an adversary relationship which would remain, until one side compromises on its basic pos­ture. Proceeding further, Dr. Nayar draws upon George Liska's postulate that rela­tions between a global power and a regional power can be categorized into processes of satellization, containment or accommodation. A policy of accom­modation with India is not yet accept­able to the United States. India's con­tainment has, instead, been sought through various methods. Simultaneous­ly, economic aid has been the instru­ment of a satellization policy. There­fore U.S. economic aid was never pro­vided, unlike Soviet aid, to develop heavy industry—the sinews of an inde­pendent power. U.S. policy towards the Soviet Union, however, follows a containment-accommodation pattern. As a result of American policies, a U.S.­China-Pakistan-Iran axis has emerged confronting an Indo-Soviet coalition. This is the ‘subterranean strategic reality of the Asian subcontinent.’ Dr. Nayar believes that India cannot ...

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