It would seem from the bizarre fiasco over the talks between the National Security Advisers of Pakistan and India that Lutyens Delhi has become a red line district. All the fleshpots of peace, which Pakistan could transact for, are on display, but tucked away behind two red lines which it must not cross. Sartaj Aziz could not meet the Hurriyat, because that would violate the Simla Accord, and could not take up Kashmir with Ajit Doval, because Ufa had laid down that they would only “discuss all issues connected to terrorism”. These lines did not need to be drawn, particularly where and when they were. Far from protecting India’s interests, they have simply painted the government into a corner, where it can only sulk, as a prisoner of its own foolishness.
The warming of relations between China and South Korea coincides with Beijing’s harder line towards the North, which drifts further into isolation. While Kim was reported to have rashly snubbed earlier Chinese invitations to meet President Xi, it is now suggested that the North Korean leader has run afoul of Beijing after ordering the execution of his second-in-command, Jang Song-thaek, a former confidante of the Chinese.
With the passing of the bipolar international order and India’s own shift toward market economics, it was assumed that the traditional commonality of democratic values, complemented by an increasingly robust set of inter-societal ties, would accentuate a dramatic convergence of national interests between the two countries.
Traditionally, India has concentrated more on Southeast Asian countries as the lynchpins of its quest to spread political influence and profit from the region’s economic dynamism. New Delhi’s relative neglect of the geographically more distant Northeast Asia, of which South Korea is a pivotal country, is gradually being redressed with a spectacular warming of ties between India and Japan.
It is true that China and the United States are not currently adversaries — certainly not in the way that the Soviet Union and the United States were during the Cold War. But the risk of a U.S.-Chinese crisis might actually be greater than it would be if Beijing and Washington were locked in a zero-sum, life-and-death struggle.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be meeting with President Obama in Washington next week to discuss economic and trade cooperation between the United States and India. One of the most critical topics on the table will be immigration reform as it relates to Indian workers in the United States.
For those Chinese paying attention to Xi Jinping’s four-country tour of the Americas this week, one question stands out: Why would their president want to spend two informal days, more or less one-on-one with U.S. President Barack Obama in the middle of the desert? This isn’t just a matter of protocol — though there are plenty of questions about that — but rather a deeper inquiry into what precisely China wants from a bilateral relationship with the U.S, writes Adam Minter.