By George, he is good for India | india | Hindustan Times
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By George, he is good for India

Indians think George W. Bush is more or less good for them and the United States a suspect but necessary partner for their country.

india Updated: Mar 02, 2006 01:08 IST

Indians think George W. Bush is more or less good for them and the United States a suspect but necessary partner for their country.

A Hindustan Times-C fore poll of the six largest cities on the eve of US President George W. Bush's visit shows Indian attitudes toward the sole superpower as a decidedly mixed bag.

The country is split when it comes to Bush himself. Slender majorities saw him as a friend of India and even prepared to invite him home. While hardly a ringing endorsement, it should be remembered that in most parts of the world the pro-Bush vote would be in single figure.

There was a fair amount of difference among cities. Mumbai was generally the most positive about the US, and Kolkata the most anti-American. Delhiites were generally in between, but did record the highest figure (66 per cent) in believing Washington was too friendly with Islamabad.

Indians remain largely wary of closer ties: over half say the US cannot be trusted in the long run and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is too cosy with Washington. Part of the reason remains past US foreign policy.

About the same number believe the US still tilts toward Pakistan. Interestingly, polls by other organisations have shown that Pakistanis are among the most anti-American people in the world.

But Indian scepticism goes hand-in-hand with a pragmatic recognition that India's own global success is linked to better relations with the US. One contributing factor may be that Indians seem increasingly confident about themselves.

The most decisive figures were a feeling that there could be no American role in a settlement on Kashmir (75 per cent) and a belief that India could not be dominated by another country (63 per cent).

This might also explain why less than a third of those surveyed support the Left parties in opposing the visit.