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Obama's approach to India ruining close Bush-era ties: analyst

US administration's approach to India, including its "slow" response to the request for questioning David Headley, and its proximity to Pakistan in the war on terror are steadily driving a wedge in the strong relations cultivated during the Bush-era, noted historian Arthur Herman has observed.

india Updated: May 13, 2010 11:48 IST

US administration's approach to India, including its "slow" response to the request for questioning David Headley, and its proximity to Pakistan in the war on terror are steadily driving a wedge in the strong relations cultivated during the Bush-era, noted historian Arthur Herman has observed.

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, widely regarded as a conservative publication, Herman wrote that India is still waiting to question LeT operative Headley, months after it emerged that he had a role in the Mumbai terror attack.

The author and historian also described the "cozy relationship" shared by the US and Pakistan as the second area of a rift in Indo-US relations.

"The partnership with India that George W Bush carefully built is in shambles -- jeopardising our future in Asia," the piece said.

"What the Pentagon and the media trumpet as Pakistan's new 'cooperation' in fighting the Taliban, Indian experts see as simply one jihadist wing of Pakistan's secret service (the ISI) surreptitiously taking out the others, with our Predator drones doing the shooting," it added.

Herman is the author the bestseller How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and his most recent book is Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age.

The author warned that the US should not make the "mistake of scorning India" like it did during the Cold War.

"Repeating that mistake will now hurt us and our ability to make our voice heard in that vital hemisphere," he said, contending that the approach will drive India to its once close ally Russia. The article noted that when Obama did not sell retired aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk to New Delhi, India bought a Russian carrier along with 16 nuclear reactors and a fleet of new MIG 29 fighters.

"The Russian deal means more than another lost opportunity for the United States -- and another troubling expansion of Moscow's influence in the region," Herman wrote.

"It also represents a growing perception among Indian policymakers that they need to adjust to an Asia in which America plays little or no role, especially if the US economy buries itself under a mudslide of debt," he added.

He notes that India fears Obama's arming of Pakistan could lead to it lording it over other nations in the region, which could lead to more terror attacks.

It also suggests that New Delhi isn't thrilled about Washington's push for all nations to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The author also recalled that India wasn't too thrilled about Obama's suggestion that China should try and mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad over Kashmir.

"As the Indian press noted at the time, nothing could be more calculated to arouse New Delhi's wrath than the suggestion that not one but two erstwhile enemies should have a say in the fate of what is still sovereign Indian territory," he said.