US accepts India as major South Asia player: Pakistani daily


Islamabad : US President Barack Obama’s “initiation of his Asia tour with India… (is) part of US deference towards them and acceptance of its role as a major player in South Asia”, said a Pakistani daily.

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The Daily Times said in an editorial Tuesday: “Obama may not have evoked the kind of warmth and enthusiasm that was seen during President George Bush’s visit to India in 2006. However, Obama’s initiation of his Asia tour with India and underscoring of the potential of India to become a major trade partner are part of US deference towards India and acceptance of its role as a major player in South Asia.”

It observed that “at a time when the US is going through a hard time trying to achieve economic recovery and the Republicans have made unprecedented gains in mid-term elections, President Obama is looking for wide-ranging economic cooperation with India in the hope that this will lead to the creation of more jobs at home.”

Barack Obama, alongwith his wife Michelle and top officials, arrived in Mumbai Saturday and on Sunday he reached New Delhi, where he has a string of engagements, including talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lined up for Monday. He leaves for Indonesia Tuesday.

The editorial stated that the agenda of the visit is “directed as much towards a domestic audience as to the Indian hosts”.

“While the announced deals cover mostly non-military sales and trade, the US is looking for sale of big-ticket military equipment to India. India has relied more on the Soviet Union in the past and later Russia for its heavy weapons requirements. The procurement, logistics, arrangements and management of such weapons is a very complex affair.”

“If India agrees to buy big-ticket items, it will also provide a fillip to the US economy, whose biggest and leading component is the defence industry.”

It went on to say that Obama’s visit to India was being observed with great interest in Pakistan.

“The government had expressed the hope that the US would bring up the issue of Kashmir with India during the visit. Given the US’s inclination towards long-term strategic relations with India, this hope seems no more than a daydreamm,” the daily said.

“While lauding the role of India in the development of Afghanistan, the US president took care to mention Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development. Moreover, another indication that the US considers its relations with Pakistan crucial was making no mention of Pakistan during (his) speech expressing sympathies with the victims and survivors of the 2008 Mumbai attack.”