TRUMP AIDE KENNETH JUSTER, NEXT US AMBASSADOR TO NEW DELHI, IS AN EXPERIENCED INDIA HAND

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Kenneth Juster, who’s set to be the next US Ambassador to New Delhi, is an experienced India hand.

Juster has been a pro-India voice ever since he was an Under-secretary in the US Department of Commerce in the George W Bush administration. The US-India Business Council awarded him with the Blackwill Award in 2004 for his contributions to India-US relations.

The Washington Post, which first broke the news, described Kenneth as a “consensus pick” and a “top-notch India expert”.

“Senior Trump Administration officials say his impending appointment to represent Washington in New Delhi is a consensus pick that places a top notch India expert in a crucial diplomatic post and he is currently going through a new round of clearances before his appointment can be officially announced,” the Post report said.

Juster has admired India’s technical competence, especially in life sciences and engineering, and founded and chaired the High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) in 2002 to broad-base trade of dual-use goods and bilateral high-technology commerce.

In his various responsibilities, he has overseen trade dealing with export of sensitive goods and technologies to other countries. He has also been actively involved in policymaking on China, Japan, Israel, the Persian Gulf and Latin America.

A trustee of The Asia Foundation, a non-profit development organization, and member of the Council for Foreign Relations, a strategic think-tank of global influence, Juster is currently Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant for International Economic Affairs. He’s also Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, and has been the first contact point for senior Indian officials for access to the Donald Trump administration.

According to Bloomberg, Juster has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer and senior business executive. He completed his law education at Harvard Law School. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kenneth Juster will replace Richard Verma, the first Indian-American to become the US Ambassador to India. Verma was appointed by Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, and resigned as Donald Trump took over the US presidency.

©SantoshChaubey

BARACK OBAMA’S INDIA VISIT: TRANSITIONAL YES, DON’T EXPECT TRANSFORMATION SO SOON

No doubt it was a visit driven by positive sentiments that added further positives during its course, setting the mood of the future discourse.

Barack Oabam’s visit to India, with some historic firsts in India-US ties like Obama becoming the first US President to visit India twice while in office or the being first US President to be the chief guest of India’s Republic Day Parade, was successful on many vital counts.

It extended the streak of bonhomie that was successfully injected in worsening India-US ties during Narendra Modi’s September 2014 US visit.

It successfully built on the developments thereafter, Modi further meeting twice with Obama, in Myanmar and in Australia during multilateral meets, and backdoor negotiations on contentious issues like the civil nuclear deal.

It renewed the India-US ‘Defence Framework Agreement’ with co-production and co-development ventures.

It emphasized on the balancing act in Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean geopolitics with India’s growing role and growing collaboration with the US in checking the Chinese ambitions.

It saw Narendra Modi assuring Barack Obama and the US businessmen that India would remove the whims of red-tapes and Modi would personally look after the execution of proposals and projects.

It saw Barack Obama assuring India to look into Indian concerns on H-1B visa issue. H-1B visa is the route for opportunities for Indian techies in the US and Indian companies have been raising concerns ever since immigration reforms were initiated by Barack Obama.

It saw commitment of $4 billion by the US to start new initiatives.

It saw the personal chemistry between Narendra Modi and Barack Obama reaching to the next level where Obama promised to come back to India with his daughters and assuring that the ties would continue to prosper even if Obamas were not in the White House.

It saw two vital protocols broken to extend the commitments at personal level – first, Narendra Modi broke the protocol and received Barack Obama at the airport. Second, Barack Obama ignored the requirement of his security details that ‘he should not be in open air events for more than 45 minutes’ and stayed for the complete duration of the Republic Day Parade.

And above all, it was not without the signs of ‘checks and balances’ – on the lines of the visit being ‘transitional if not transformational’ as the US Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had said before the visit.

The long and checkered history of India-US ties indeed needs a gradual and transitional approach to cement the ties further – watching and fine-tuning the responses while on the move – testing the waters to see if the ‘ambitions to become the global partners’ come along with the assuring developments of ‘being all-weather friends’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PAKISTAN’S FRUSTRATION THREATENS INDIA AGAIN (CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF PAKISTAN’S DOUBLESPEAK)

Pakistan’s defence minister Khawaja Asif warned (read threatened) India today – “In the past six-seven months, we have tried to better our ties with India so that peace can prevail. But it seems that they do not understand this language. I believe, we will now communicate with India in the language they understand.”

And as threatened, Pakistan did communicate today, taking its ceasefire violations and cross-border firings to the similar barbaric level that target civilians every now and then, killing two Army personnel, one civilian – shelling houses in border villages across the International Border (IB) forcing evacuation of many villages. A similar recent response by Pakistan in October 2014 had met with some tough response by India forcing the Pakistani ruling establishment to hide under its skin.

With the trademark Pakistani style retaliatory communication today, Pakistan has maintained its proven track-record of shameless doublespeak – saying they are the peace-loving folks – and are forced to act by India whenever ‘ceasefire violations by India’ happen:

  • When the country is seen as one of the few nations following the policy of state-sponsored terror, waging proxy wars, especially in India and Afghanistan..
  • When the country is globally knows as the origin and factory of Taliban..
  • When the country is at the forefront of the debate on countries giving rise to the ‘good terror Vs bad terror’ discourse by their terror-oriented policy..
  • When the world knows that its ruling establishment harboured Osama bin-Laden for years while feigning ignorance to the world that forced US to exclude Pakistan from its Osama hunt that ultimately resulted in US carrying on an operation on its own, in Pakistan, near its capital Islamabad, while no one in Pakistan could sense it..

Countries with such an encyclopaedia of lying and doublespeak preach they kill in order to make others learn the process of peace they want to project – and ‘others’ here is the largest democracy in the world with strong democratic tradition and institutions, India – a responsible nuclear power – a regional power – an emerging global power – an economic powerhouse of the day – the largest future market for the companies of the world with its young demography and its ever-expanding middle class that is slated to eclipse the marketing trends of the world.

Now, that is a norm expected from Pakistan and its ruling establishments – the feeble politicians with no choice but to toe the line dictated by military establishment of Pakistan – and the people ruling Pakistan’s military establishment, living under a perpetual anti-India fear psychosis – drawing their sanctity to rule Pakistan by fuelling anti-India sentiments in Pakistan riding on the ‘K word’ – frustrated by their inferiority complex:

  • When they see India’s superior economy, superior military and healthy social institutions..
  • When they see the issue that gives them the power to blind the Pakistanis, the so-called ‘cause of Kashmir’ slipping even farther away with a peaceful election registering highest ever poll percentage of 65%..
  • When they see India’s rising global stature..
  • When they see Russian President Vladimir Putin, undoubtedly the most powerful dictator of the day, has to come to India to placate India on Russia-Pakistan defence deals while desperately looking for business to keep running the Russian economy reeling under sanctions of US and European Union..
  • When they see US President Barack Obama cordially accepts India’s invitation to become the chief guest of its Republic Day function on January 26 while flatly refusing Pakistan’s request to extend his trip India’s neighbour..
  • When they see in their past and find they have lost every war they fought with India..
  • When they see in their past and reflect on the humiliating loss of East Pakistan and birth of today’s Bangladesh..

And the high tone of the rhetoric of Pakistan’s defence minister today is reflective of this frustrated mindset of nation’s ruling establishment and nothing more.

Yes, Pakistan is in no position to wage a direct war with India and it realized it a long ago and so it adopted the policy of waging proxy war in Jammu & Kashmir and other parts of India. It pushes terrorists in India. It pushes terror money in India. It tries to indoctrinate and radicalised Indian youth in the name of religion. It mentors separatists of Kashmir.

And regular ceasefire violations by Pakistan are one of the guised channels to push terrorists in India. What is making Pakistani ruling establishment nervous and restless is that India is no more in the mood to play the Good Samaritan keeping restraint. It is giving befitting reply now, like it did in October 2014.

Don’t be surprised, if tomorrow, you come across the news that ‘Indian reply across the border with Pakistan forces Pakistani guns to go silent once again after facing heavy losses’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

OBAMA’S INDIA VISIT, PAKISTANI RULING ELITE’S ANTI-INDIA MINDSET AND RECENT SURGE IN ATTEMPTED TERROR ACTS

Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India pushed by Pakistan’s terror designs for India – it may be one of the evergreen subjects to be discussed on media platforms but in the prevailing geopolitical circumstances – with US President Barack Obama’s scheduled visit later this month – and with recent surge in terror threats and terror alerts – it has found a heightened relevance.

Pakistan has always been frustrated with and thus irritated on India and Barack Obama’s India visit as the chief guest of the Republic Day event on January 26 has touched the nervous cords again.

Being seen as a diplomatic coup by Narendra Modi, it only worsened the matters for Pakistan when US declared that Obama would not be visiting Pakistan while coming to South Asia, an unexpected letdown given the past precedents. And Obama’s flat refusal to Pakistan’s prostrated demands of Obama’s Pakistan visit only rubbed salt in the wound.

Further humiliation came with the American demand that Pakistan needed to mend its terror-infested courtyard decisively before ‘requesting’ a US presidential visit, something that Pakistan simply cannot afford, even if it itself is a big victim of insurgency with thousands killed in terror strikes each year, for state-sponsored terrorism has become the most important tool to feed the anti-India psychosis ruling the mindsets of the Pakistani elite.

Now, even if US is placating Pakistan with aid for its ‘forced’ cooperation to act against the ‘bad Taliban’ active in Afghanistan and AfPak region, the US presidential visit to Pakistan is not going to happen in the near future, as Pakistan is not going to take on ‘it’s good Taliban’. And as long as Pakistan continues to follow this policy of audacious bonhomie with the ‘good terrorism’ that it mentors, Pakistanis cannot expect a ‘relatively’ terror free society. After all, the ‘bad Taliban’ of today are the ‘good Taliban’ of yesterday.

Add the psychological implications of Obama’s India visit to the perennial anti-India hysteria of the Pakistani elite, and it makes for a perfect recipe for them to push their anti-India agenda with renewed efforts, to vent their frustration, to feed their false sense of becoming at par with India, to save their faces.

And if they could destabilize India – when India has the world’s attention with Obama’s upcoming India visit and Obama saying he means business with this visit – perpetrating a big terror strike or a series of orchestrated terror attacks to the extent that it could potentially threaten Obama’s visit or could even cancel it – it will be a real coup for the Pakistani government and Pakistani elite.

The recent surge in terror related rumours, specific terror alerts, terror raids and busts, arrests, low intensity and IED blasts, open threats by terrorist groups like the one for January 26, or today’s news about December 31’s incident off Gujarat coast where a Pakistani boat was blown by the people manning it when was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard can be seen in the context of the anti-India mindset of the Pakistani ruling elite.

The satisfactory reflection on these developments so far, for India and Indians, has been the fact that the synergy of the Indian Intelligence and the security agencies has been able to thwart any major Pakistan-sponsored terror incident on Indian soil so far (in the recent past obviously), including the big achievement of ensuring peaceful elections in Jammu & Kashmir with highest ever poll percentage.

But, then, don’t we, the Indians, need to have this ‘synergy’ always working like this?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

QUESTIONS THAT COME TO THE FORE ON THE US STAND ON PAKISTAN HANDLING TERROR IN ITS BACKYARD

THE QUESTIONS

1. The United States had agreed to extend for one year the aid to Pakistan to fight terrorism on the condition that it would stop differentiating between good and bad terror. And the country’s most powerful person, the Army chief of Pakistan Raheel Sharif had extended this promise during his US visit. Yet, many big terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, directly implicated in heinous terror acts in India, are roaming free and are even ‘respectable’ citizens there. We saw the Pakistani government’s attitude that allowed bail to Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi, main handler of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, on technical grounds. This is when the US has put a bounty of US$ 10 million on Hafiz Saeed. This is when Masood Azhar, lodged in an Indian jail, was ‘exchanged’ in a hijacking incident. Isn’t Pakistan taking Uncle Sam for a ride?

2. There is no reason for the world community, for us, to think that the US is not aware of it. But apart from putting a reward and occasional back channel assurances, we don’t see any aggressive posturing by the US. Should we go by the explanation that when the US lawmakers demanded Pakistan to stop differentiating between ‘good and bad terror’, it was meant only in the context of Taliban and the AfPak theatre?

3. But can this narrow view of policymaking on terrorism serve the purpose of the US as well as of the Pakistan?

4. Also, can Pakistan ever be trusted to take on the terrorist networks operating to further its agenda in Afghanistan, especially the Haqqani network and the resurgent Taliban factions of Afghanistan that are eyeing greener pastures after the complete withdrawal of the internal coalition forces?

5. Pakistan has been vocally active on India’s role in Afghanistan and its perennial anti-India instance has been one of the major reasons for actively supporting the Afghanistan Taliban. Is this not a naïve thinking of the US policymakers that Pakistan will be able to overcome this anti-India psychosis to help the international forces wipe out the factors that it feels will help in bolstering its position in the internal matters of Afghanistan in the near future?

6. Is the terror discourse in the context of Pakistan is going to be ‘all Taliban and all terrorists active in Afghanistan are bad’ but ‘good terror Vs bad terror’ is also valid, to sustain and maintain the proxy war against India?

7. Hillary Clinton, the then US Secretary of State, had warned Pakistan sternly on its doublespeak on terrorism. Hillary’s blunt message delivered in Islamabad in October 2011 was: “It’s like that old story. You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.” That was three years ago yet Pakistan kept a blind eye and is still doing the same, harbouring many snakes while trying to crush only a few. Pakistan just had one of its worst human tragedies with TTP attack on the Army school in Peshawar killing over 130 children. What else will it take for Pakistan to realize what Hillary so clearly warned then, the reality that Pakistan deliberately ignores to realize?

8. Can India expect a positive change in the US attitude on this ‘good terror Vs bad terror discourse in the Indian context’ after the recent improvements in India-US ties with Narendra Modi as the Indian Prime Minister? India and the US have warmed up to each other in real terms with Modi’s successful US visit in September and Barack Obama’s upcoming India visit in January next. What is remarkably positive change for the India-US ties this time is, that the US President is not extending his visit to Pakistan, something that has been a routine in the past.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/