Ep. 32: Biden, Afghanistan and Relations with India

India and the US have common strategic interests and maybe even common values, but there are plenty of tactical irritants under a Democratic administration



It is up to every nation to pursue its interests; as has been said famously, there are no permanent friends, only permanent interests. India must accept this reality. The US will pursue its own interests, as defined by the current administration, although the question remains whether its short-term tactics will be counterproductive for long-term strategy. 

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The generals know what they are doing. The NYTimes reported that in 2014, Hamid Gul, the godfather of the ISI, said: “When history is written, it will be stated that the ISI defeated the Soviet Union in Afghanistan with the help of America. Then there will be another sentence. The ISI, with the help of America, defeated America”. Exactly. The only update is that “ISI, with the help of China, defeated America.”

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There is a trio of sinister events: one, the pointless provocation of a FONOP (freedom of navigation) operation in India’s exclusive economic zone in the Lakshadweep; two, the sheer cussedness of the embargo on vaccine raw materials (despite all the theatrics of a Quad vaccine initiative); three, the haranguing on climate change by John Kerry. 

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It was evident to America-watchers that a Biden presidency, especially with Kamala Harris and her loud niece Meena in the fray, would not be pleasant for India. Time to grit one’s teeth and ride out the next four years. The first 100 days have been bad. Things are likely to get much worse, alas.