India’s foreign policy will continue to follow an independent course, characterised by economic and political pragmatism, the new Obama administration has said in its first intelligence assessment.
New Delhi will not automatically support or oppose positions favoured by the United States or any other major power, Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence, said in his annual assessment to a Senate committee.
<b1>The comments, posted on the directorate’s website, are the first detailed comments on what Barack Obama believes will be India’s strategy and approach to the rest of the world.
“Nonetheless, good relations with the United States will be essential for India to realise its global ambitions…however, Indian leaders often will adopt positions contrary to those favoured by Washington,” Blair informed the panel.
Strong ties with the US will give India "more confidence" in dealing with China and in mitigating the dangers posed by Pakistan, Blair argued.
"India will be concerned about China during the coming decade because of Beijing’s political and economic power…but India will strive to avoid confrontation with China,” America’s intelligence boss felt.
The Obama administration also assessed that unless Islamabad took "sustained, concrete, meaningful" steps to allay Delhi’s concerns about its support to anti-India militant groups, the India-Pakistan bilateral dialogue could unravel.
"This is the case particularly in light of the November 2008 terrorist act in Mumbai.” Blair also warned that Pakistan-based groups could carry out additional attacks against India and run the risk of provoking an India-Pakistan conflict.