Wednesday, October 21, 2009


. . . after 1947, however, relations between India and the US took a downward turn. The downward turn continued for nearly half-a-century. The reasons lie in the failed policies of India's first Prime minister, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, and in the narrow view of the world held by the then Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.
Indo-American relations reached a low point during the 1971 Bangladesh war. India supported Bangladesh's struggle for freedom from Pakistani war of genocide. America "tilted" to the side of Pakistan.

Indo-American relations improved a bit in the 1980s during the Reagan presidency (1980-88). The upward movement in relations continued during both the Bush presidency (1988-92) and the early years of the Clinton presidency. The two countries engaged in a dialog to redefine their "strategic relationship."  Then Pokharan I and II happened in May 1998. India test- exploded its nuclear devices. This derailed the burgeoning Indo-American relations.

The United States government took a hard stand against India becoming a Nuclear power. I believe America's opposition to India's minimum nuclear deterrence is indefensible. It ignores India's legitimate security needs against rival China and unstable Pakistan.
--Dr. Madan Lal Goel

Dr. Madan Lal Goel
University of West Florida

No two countries are as misunderstood by each other as the United States and India. The misunderstanding goes back to a period after WWII, to a period when India achieved its independence from colonial rule and the United States emerged as one of the two global superpowers. Partly this is due to the relative lack of historical contact between India and the U.S. This lack of historical contact between India and the United States is in contrast to America=s much longer contact with two other Asian civilizations: China and Japan.

Indians generally misperceive the history of Indo-American relations. Many people in India have heard about the Boston Tea Party, and some believe that goods imported into the colonies from India were a major cause of the American Revolution. This is not so. All that happened was that tea that originated from India was dumped into the Boston Harbor by American freedom fighters to protest the British monarch=s policies of mercantilism.

Lord Cornwallis, Governor General of India from 1786 to 1793, provides another minor footnote to history. Before being sent to India, Cornwallis was the British General deputed to deal with the American revolutionaries. He was defeated at Yorktown in 1781 by American freedom fighters, thus sealing the fate of British power in North America. After his defeat, Cornwallis was sent to India as the Governor General of the East India Company. This development did not lead to any meaningful relations between India and the U.S.

It is interesting to note however that the British colonial yoke was imposed on the people of India just as it was lifted off the backs of the people in America. Along with Robert Clive and . . .
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