India-US Strategic News and Discussion

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby putnanja » 03 Jan 2014 06:53

Wary US delays first India visit of new Asst Secy of State

In a possible fallout of the diplomatic spat triggered by the arrest of IFS officer Devyani Khobrgade in New York, the United States has delayed the first India visit of its new Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia considering almost every politician and official refused to meet the last US delegation that came calling.

While there is no official word from either side on the issue, sources confirmed that the new Assistant Secretary, Neha Desai Biswal, a person of Indian origin, was expected here on January 6 on her first official visit.

However, Washington chose to postpone it, indicating that it may now happen in the week after, it is learnt.
...
...
Washington, sources said, could have feared that Biswal may not get the official meetings to familiarise herself given the combative mood in South Block. Also, this week is crucial for the case as Washington is expected to take a call on giving Khobragade the G-1 visa — which would give her full diplomatic immunity — after she was posted to India's permanent Mission in the United Nations in New York.

As of now, the US side is said to have indicated that Biswal may still visit around January 13, but clearly the air of uncertainty following the diplomatic stand-off over Khobragade's arrest is threatening to impact scheduled bilateral interactions.
...
...
By all indications, attempts to resolve the row are currently centred on restoring Khobragade's diplomatic immunity. Once that is done, the Indian side feels she has a strong case in court although the effort is to still try and get charges against her dropped.
....

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jan 2014 07:00

Amber G. wrote:Looks like Nisha Desai Biswal's first official visit to India is being postponed by State Department.
(It was supposed to be on Jan 6th - but they are now saying that it may be pushed back by a week or so)

Obviously, she cannot come here while the issue is raging and expect to meet any worthwhile person. But, the postponement by a week signals either of two things, IMO. It could be a US determination to let the court decide the merits of the case (in which case the US could restart the engagement by claiming that the matter was sub judice, that law would take its course and the relationship cannot remain frozen for that reason etc.) or it expects the case would be dropped on 13th by citing some hitherto 'unknown facts' and things would be back to normal for Ms. Desai to visit Delhi. I consider the second as the most likely turn of events. The ambiguous 'regrets' issued by Kerry and Nancy Powell are to be treated as apologies for the mistretment of DK and everything was settled (with the maid and her family getting entry to the US, sponsored by GotUS).

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby sraj » 03 Jan 2014 07:09

arshyam wrote:Is there an equal opportunity law in India? This would be a direct violation then. OTOH, if the US argues that it is US territory, then it is a violation of US law. Either way, this can be construed as a discriminatory practice.

A simple web search for Indian laws showed only this:

EQUAL REMUNERATION ACT, 1976

4. Duty of employer to pay equal remuneration to men and women workers for same work or work of a similar nature. --
(1) No employer shall pay to any worker, employed by him in an establishment or employment, remuneration, whether payable in cash or in kind, at rates less favourable than those at which remuneration is paid by him to the workers of the opposite sex in such establishment or employment for performing the same work or work of a similar nature.
(2) No employer shall, for the purpose of complying with the provisions of sub-section(1), reduce the rate of remuneration of any worker.
(3) Where, in an establishment or employment, the rates of remuneration payable before the commencement of this Act for men and women workers for the same work or work of a similar nature are different only on the ground of sex, then the higher (in cases where there are only two rates), or, as the case may be, the highest (in cases where there are only two rates), of such rates shall be the rate at which remuneration shall be payable, on and from such commencement, to such men and women workers:

Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to entitle a worker to the revision of the rate of remuneration payable to him or her with reference to the servicerendered by him or her before the commencement of this Act.


The article does not say which act it refers to (state or centre), but the Delhi act provides for Rs. 311/day (unskilled) and Rs. 377/day (skilled). Taken straight for a 25 day work week (M-Sat), that translates into Rs. 7775/month (unskilled) and Rs. 9425/month (skilled). The article's quoted salary falls in between these numbers. My question is, would a security guard be a 'skilled' employee?
Source: http://www.paycheck.in/main/salary/minimumwages/delhi.


We need a PIL in Delhi High Court or Supreme Court requesting the Court to direct GoI to rigorously implement i) these laws wrt all US Government entities operating in India and ii) strict reciprocity wrt US laws applied to our diplomats. This will tie GoI's hands as well to prevent any backsliding at a later date.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 03 Jan 2014 07:44

Jan 13th exactly a week after the scheduled Jan 6th visit by Ms. Desai-Biswal being postponed exactly by a week? Wow, talk about timing. While PB Esq. of NY files (if he does, that is) the indictment of Dr. DK in the court, [Asst.,Assoc.,Depty.,Under.,xxxx] Secretary Desai-Biswal would be in New Delhi hoping to meet top Indian politicos/IFS personnel.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 03 Jan 2014 08:49

Just curious if anyone here has seen the movie "Cooking with Stella"? It is a movie (light comedy) about a Canadian diplomat couple and their Indian cook/housekeeper Stella in New Delhi and in some sense relates present NY affair.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jan 2014 09:13

A point of furious discussion here is whether India should escalate its retaliation beyond mere diplomatic reciprocities or not. In that context, another issue has cropped up as to whether India needs US more or vice versa.

On the issue of where exactly India draws the line, it can be argued in three ways. One, that India should not unilaterally enlarge its retaliation to areas not involved with strict realms of diplomatic behaviour, privileges etc. That would mean that India should not, for example, cancel the Javelin or C-130J contracts etc. The other is that India should partially cancel one or more of these contracts, depending upon the impact on Indian defence, and thus convey a message that the DK issue would have ramifications beyond diplomacy and American economic interests could be impacted. Of course, the third option is for India to stop all such military, political and economic contacts with the US though nobody in his/her right senses would suggest this, at least at this point of time. Clearly, in the bilateral relationship, India is an unequal power, not in the sense that our DK case is weak in any way. In fact, in terms of the legality of the DK issue, the American case is extremely weak on multiple counts as the previous pages show. But, we are weak overall against the US, an axiom that needs no further explanation. A weaker power would therefore have to use other means to mend the wrong ways of the superior power pitted against it and it is the most natural thing to do. In the American courts, it would be American interest that would reign supreme and as the Americans have shown in many instances, they (including their courts) have no qualms in contravening international treaties and conventions whenever their interests are involved. This is the usual behaviour of the powerful. This cannot be encountered by an inferior nation without resorting to other means and enlarging the scope of the issue to areas which are to the advantage of the latter. At the same time, calibrated response is most important because it is far too easy to escalate the issue quickly into something which both nations may find difficult to extricate from easily without one or another suffering a loss of face, a prospect no nation wishes to publicly suffer. India's response, so far, IMO, has been appropriate and measured. The C-130J was an option that was waiting to be exercised and India has done that probably in order not to overrun the validity period of the option. India has a range of options in the other cases. It can choose to delay, or go in for the purchase but delay signing the actual deal or give indications of looking at other suppliers while throwing hints of linking it with the successful (from an Indian PoV) of the DK issue etc. Basically, India needs to play same realpolitik with the US that it is quite masterful at and turn the tables on it. We shall do that while appearing to be as cool as a cucumber. We have to display a demeanour that everything is under *our* control rather than betray emotions of being panicky. At the same time, the pressure on the US must be intense and continuous until the issue is sorted out to our satisfaction.

The enlargement of our hit-back will be tactical, not strategic, and hence there is no fear of the strategic relationship suffering. So, the fear of "we need them more", in a strategic sense, does not appear correct. In a strategic sense, there is probably even an equation between a rising India and a dwindling US. The tactical retaliation by India, if at all carried out in an extreme case, will not impact the strategic relationship.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Kati » 03 Jan 2014 09:37


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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 10:12

I had a chat with IFS guy yesterday. Apparently the Vienna conventions are merely like guidelines,they are not international law. There is no penalty for not abiding by the guidelines. If there was a system for penalizing the violation of convention, this would have been handled differently.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby svinayak » 03 Jan 2014 10:24

I talked to deputy Consul General of the Indian embassy on night of 31st in a NYE. He said this is one off incident and will be treated that way

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby A_Gupta » 03 Jan 2014 10:25

Kati wrote:A must read to silence the MUTUs

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05 ... erecommend


The story is from 2009. Do you happen to know if there any more recent information?

PS: I have put what little additional information I found on my blog:
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.in/2014/01 ... staff.html
Last edited by A_Gupta on 03 Jan 2014 10:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 03 Jan 2014 10:32

The IFS reaction eg. removing the barricades was unexpected. Its like the IB revolt. The political masters had to listen.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 03 Jan 2014 10:40

To add to SSridhar - IMO another important point is not to be uni-dimensional and view everything wrt to just one (or two or a few) incident(s).

Here is another measure ... in 2013, the first year of Obama's new administration, a record number (unprecedented) of Indian Americans, or known friends of India have been appointed. The actions speaks louder than mere words. (Obama did got lot of support from Indian-American community too)

Here is just a partial list for record and information:

(compiled from a few earlier posts and news items)
(Of course, there is no 'official list' as all are American citizens but one can count about a dozen in WH, and most other departments have at least one in key post. I have seen lists, compiled which has more than 50 - a record.)

Rajiv Shah (USAID) is the highest ranking Indian American in the administration. The most important administrative appointment, IMO, of the year was that of Nisha Biswal as Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. Her deputy is Atul Keshap.

(I was also impressed that Biswal was supported by Republicans as well as Democrats - Even McCain (Biswal worked for Obama campaign in 2008) praised and supported her for the post - and in her acceptance speech she talked proudly of her family, roots in India and even talked about her grand-parents who were 'freedom fighters')

Azita Raji (President's Commission on White House Fellowship), Islam Siddiqui (agricultural -U.S. Trade Representative), Vinai Thummalapally, ( Department of Commerce) + (3 more as administration officials)

Vivek Murthy (waiting to be confirmed by senate) would be the first-ever Indian American Surgeon General. Also pending confirmation - Arun Kumar, (Assistant Secretary of Commerce)

Puneet Talwar, (played a key role in the Iranian nuclear deal) -Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs)

So if confirmed, for the first time ever two Assistant Secretary of State positions at the State Department would be held by Indian Americans)
Last edited by Amber G. on 03 Jan 2014 10:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 03 Jan 2014 10:47

Altair wrote:I had a chat with IFS guy yesterday. Apparently the Vienna conventions are merely like guidelines,they are not international law. There is no penalty for not abiding by the guidelines. If there was a system for penalizing the violation of convention, this would have been handled differently.


Altair: I read the following from some US marine when people were screaming to get (former) president George W. Bush decalred a war criminal.

"OK, fine. please come and get him". That about sums it up as far as countering current lone superpower. No, I have no comments about whether this ground situation is good or bad.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby ramana » 03 Jan 2014 10:50

AmberG, All those individuals earned their honors and appointments. Its nice that they are of Indian origin. Dk arrest needs its own response and not bring in Ind Am appointments in the US govt. They are non sequitor.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vayutuvan » 03 Jan 2014 11:00

^ ramana garu, a very good point. In fact a few months back we were discussing this same thing with one industrialist from India who was claiming that many Indian business leaders feel that President Obama is anti-Indian. One business professor brought up the point that Obama administration has the largest number of Indian-Americans ever and hence he is not anti-Indian. unfortunately before I could make the point that the former conclusion would not follow from the professor's claim, we sort of moved on as another wise (white haired) professor steered the conservation away sensing that it is going to become a little heated.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 03 Jan 2014 11:06

ramana wrote:AmberG, All those individuals earned their honors and appointments. Its nice that they are of Indian origin. Dk arrest needs its own response and not bring in Ind Am appointments in the US govt. They are non sequitor.


Ramanaji - with all due respect, far from being non-sequitor this is quite important for this thread (India-US Stategic etc..).. Not every thing has to be seen in the lens of DK's arrest.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jan 2014 11:09

The name implies that it is a mere convention agreed upon by nations to have uniformity in approach in dealing with diplomats and consuls. However, if conventions are given a go by, then chaos reigns. If the US says that its laws are superior and Vienna Conventions do not matter, it hardly takes a second for another nation to invoke similar arguments against US diplomats & consuls.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Arjun » 03 Jan 2014 11:13

What exactly is the implication the GOI is supposed to derive from the increasing number of Indian Americans in US administration ?

If Preet Bharara or Zeya Uzra are representative - then the GOI might well conclude that India-US relations is negatively correlated to an increase in Indian Americans in prominent governmental positions.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Amber G. » 03 Jan 2014 11:22

matrimc wrote:^ ramana garu, a very good point. In fact a few months back we were discussing this same thing with one industrialist from India who was claiming that many Indian business leaders feel that President Obama is anti-Indian. One business professor brought up the point that Obama administration has the largest number of Indian-Americans ever and hence he is not anti-Indian. unfortunately before I could make the point that the former conclusion would not follow from the professor's claim, we sort of moved on as another wise (white haired) professor steered the conservation away sensing that it is going to become a little heated.


I think the business professor brought out a good point. Of course, pro-india/anti-india is not a binary bit and mere appointment of a Indian-American to a post (or even a large number of Indian Americans to many posts) is not the SOLE criteria of being pro-india/anti-india, but it certainly is one data point.

But still, if Obama was as anti-India as some say he is, why will he appoint anyone from Indian origin?

(An anti-Semitic Germany did NOT appoint any Jews, Pak does not appoint too many non-Muslims to high position etc... a definite sign of them being anti-something)

Take another example, when confronted with people claiming India as being Anti-Muslim, I have pointed out that India has elected Muslims in high position - A very valid and effective data point. (Recent introduction of House Resolution 417 needs this kind of rebuttal)...

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby srin » 03 Jan 2014 11:23

matrimc wrote:^ ramana garu, a very good point. In fact a few months back we were discussing this same thing with one industrialist from India who was claiming that many Indian business leaders feel that President Obama is anti-Indian. One business professor brought up the point that Obama administration has the largest number of Indian-Americans ever and hence he is not anti-Indian. unfortunately before I could make the point that the former conclusion would not follow from the professor's claim, we sort of moved on as another wise (white haired) professor steered the conservation away sensing that it is going to become a little heated.


There is a difference being anti-India and anti-Indian. Though I don't think it is anti-India, looks to be more of indifference to India. If there are Indian origin people in the GOTUS, it doesn't mean that it becomes pro-India. Ultimately, it is a factor of national self-interest, party interest and financial interest.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby putnanja » 03 Jan 2014 11:30

ramana wrote:AmberG, All those individuals earned their honors and appointments. Its nice that they are of Indian origin. Dk arrest needs its own response and not bring in Ind Am appointments in the US govt. They are non sequitor.


Well said ramana-ji! That is exactly right.

The Indian-Americans attained their positions on their own merit. And the key word there is "American" in "Indian-American". Obama did not appoint an Indian citizen to any post, nor did he select them only because they are of Indian origin. They were meritorious, were very pro-American, were democrats and he could also claim he was "more diverse". If he had selected non-deserving Indian-Americans and only because they were Indian, then we can discuss whether Obama is pro or anti-india.

Anyway, as has been proved by Biswas, Bahrara or Zeya, having Indian-Americans deal with Indian issues will be more of a liability than asset, as they will always be operating to dismiss the notion of pro-India bias that some may think they have.
Last edited by putnanja on 03 Jan 2014 11:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 11:30

SSridhar wrote:The name implies that it is a mere convention agreed upon by nations to have uniformity in approach in dealing with diplomats and consuls. However, if conventions are given a go by, then chaos reigns. If the US says that its laws are superior and Vienna Conventions do not matter, it hardly takes a second for another nation to invoke similar arguments against US diplomats & consuls.

Yes. But how many nations WILL standup to US? US knows this. And hence the arrogance. They bully other nations to put forward their point even if they know they are wrong. Forget India, even UK and other friendly European nations have at Some point have been humiliated by US. The crux of the matter is US does not respect the conventions because at the end of the day they are ONLY conventions not International law. Unless there is an enforcement of these conventions US will continue to exploit,bully and humiliate other nations. Even if some nation retaliates in future it still will not solve any problem rather it would create a more unpredictable and dangerous world for diplomacy.
US has single handedly changed the world from a non-nuclear world to a dangerous nuclear world. It is changing a decent and respectable world of diplomats to one reserved for dope fiends.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby vishvak » 03 Jan 2014 11:58

SSridhar wrote:The name implies that it is a mere convention agreed upon by nations to have uniformity in approach in dealing with diplomats and consuls. However, if conventions are given a go by, then chaos reigns. If the US says that its laws are superior and Vienna Conventions do not matter, it hardly takes a second for another nation to invoke similar arguments against US diplomats & consuls.

Then what is meaning of ratification of conventions.

Americans are making the most of this but no one seems to state clearly how USA is misusing(/abusing?) the situation. The space of NGOs/interest groups/religious/humanities/leftists/'international'/'multinational' seem to have no one to point this out what USA has been doing officially.

Even within USA, there seems to be total disconnect from this while people are busy doing yindoo this and yindoo that. No one is passing value judgements about USA society where all this happen in face of international conventions and part ratifications, even when Hindus are merely 1% of total population. Perhaps propaganda machinery is new York is too busy with yindoo this and yindoo that to notice total contravention of international convention when the lady diplomat is treated like common NY druggard. After all USA is land of dreams (& also land of partial ratifications and contravention of international conventions). USA is like that only, what to do only! Now the Indian lady diplomat has to go through NY style treatment only. But there is also yindoo this yindoo that no for giving cover to USA style.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 11:59

In my discussion I was informed that US-SD has been pressurising India on India's dealings with Iran for sometime. Because of PM's backing, MEA had a very good relations with Iran and recently doubled oil purchases from them. This upset many Iran detractors in US-SD. They wanted to teach MEA a lesson for not heading to SD's advisory on MEA's growing closeness with Iran. This also compounded with Obama using MMS to negotiate back channel deals between WH and Iran because of MEA's good relations with Iran. The current round of negotiations for a Western Nuclear deal with Iran is progressing well due to several inputs from MEA and MMS. Modi knows this. Hence the silence from him.The KT helped key WH negotiators. This caused severe heartburn for several people in US as one can imagine. The US-SD wants India's MEA to backoff from Iran. India does not want to oblige because of our regional aspirations,many key oil contracts,Intelligence cooperation,our "port" in Iran etc.. This is where US-SD and MEA are diagonally opposite.
This is just the beginning. I am glad that US-SD has forced India to take a position. We have to consolidate our position and make allies. Russia is a key player when it comes to dealing with Iran. A closely coordinated game with Russia is pre-requisite to play a long game to checkmate US in the persian lands. One thing is for certain. SD will hurt India where it hurts most. They will ally with Pakistan more than ever and give more sops and a free pass just to see us hurt. We must be prepared for another DH episode.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby anmol » 03 Jan 2014 12:30

Altair wrote:In my discussion I was informed that US-SD has been pressurising India on India's dealings with Iran for sometime. Because of PM's backing, MEA had a very good relations with Iran and recently doubled oil purchases from them. This upset many Iran detractors in US-SD. They wanted to teach MEA a lesson for not heading to SD's advisory on MEA's growing closeness with Iran. This also compounded with Obama using MMS to negotiate back channel deals between WH and Iran because of MEA's good relations with Iran. The current round of negotiations for a Western Nuclear deal with Iran is progressing well due to several inputs from MEA and MMS. Modi knows this. Hence the silence from him.The KT helped key WH negotiators. This caused severe heartburn for several people in US as one can imagine. The US-SD wants India's MEA to backoff from Iran. India does not want to oblige because of our regional aspirations,many key oil contracts,Intelligence cooperation,our "port" in Iran etc.. This is where US-SD and MEA are diagonally opposite.
This is just the beginning. I am glad that US-SD has forced India to take a position. We have to consolidate our position and make allies. Russia is a key player when it comes to dealing with Iran. A closely coordinated game with Russia is pre-requisite to play a long game to checkmate US in the persian lands. One thing is for certain. SD will hurt India where it hurts most. They will ally with Pakistan more than ever and give more sops and a free pass just to see us hurt. We must be prepared for another DH episode.


Who/What is KT ?

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 12:34

Knowledge Transfer.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jan 2014 12:44

Altair, are you suggesting that the President and his employee John Kerry are at loggerheads over Iran and that the SD is sabotaging the President's efforts ?

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 12:53

SSridhar wrote:Altair, are you suggesting that the President and his employee John Kerry are at loggerheads over Iran and that the Sd is sabotaging the President's efforts ?

Yes. We can corroborate this if we follow Kerry. Obama has a very good opinion of MMS and his diplomatic skills. This might be the reason for Kerrorist to test the Obama's assessment of MMS.
I am convinced of this reasoning and I am backing off MMS bashing as of now.
Kerry is in Israel right now. He is apparently negotiating a West bank settlement deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby srin » 03 Jan 2014 13:11

Altair wrote:In my discussion I was informed that US-SD has been pressurising India on India's dealings with Iran for sometime. Because of PM's backing, MEA had a very good relations with Iran and recently doubled oil purchases from them. This upset many Iran detractors in US-SD. They wanted to teach MEA a lesson for not heading to SD's advisory on MEA's growing closeness with Iran. This also compounded with Obama using MMS to negotiate back channel deals between WH and Iran because of MEA's good relations with Iran. The current round of negotiations for a Western Nuclear deal with Iran is progressing well due to several inputs from MEA and MMS. Modi knows this. Hence the silence from him.The KT helped key WH negotiators. This caused severe heartburn for several people in US as one can imagine. The US-SD wants India's MEA to backoff from Iran. India does not want to oblige because of our regional aspirations,many key oil contracts,Intelligence cooperation,our "port" in Iran etc.. This is where US-SD and MEA are diagonally opposite.
This is just the beginning. I am glad that US-SD has forced India to take a position. We have to consolidate our position and make allies. Russia is a key player when it comes to dealing with Iran. A closely coordinated game with Russia is pre-requisite to play a long game to checkmate US in the persian lands. One thing is for certain. SD will hurt India where it hurts most. They will ally with Pakistan more than ever and give more sops and a free pass just to see us hurt. We must be prepared for another DH episode.


Regarding Iran, we've been there before. Remember when they pressured us to cut off all relations with Myanmar in the name of "human rights" ? All of a sudden, there is a Sec State visit and Myanmar becomes one of the good guys. If we'd obeyed their diktats, we'd have been screwed - no leverage left there. Tomorrow, Iran can suddenly become a good guy to contain Saudi Arabia - you never know.

Unless we're idiots - and we've shown that sometimes we crawl when asked to bend - we'd never import the US foreign policy just because we want to import their weapons.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Singha » 03 Jan 2014 14:13

India's tough measures against US diplomats following the arrest of a senior Indian diplomat in New York has impacted US Ambassador Nancy Powell who called off her travel to Nepal after her special privileges were withdrawn.

Powell, who had informed the government in New Delhi about her travel plans to Nepal, cancelled her visit after airport pass which gave her special access to various procedural checks at the airport stood withdrawn as India downgraded privileges and benefits to US diplomats in sharp retaliation to the arrest of its Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade.

Only the Ambassador's airport pass came with a photo ID which was exclusively for her while all other passes known as "floating" airport cards were used by the US diplomats as "if and when required" basis, government sources said. They said the US Ambassador had informed the External Affairs Ministry about her travel plans and when she checked about her privilege of special access, she was informed that it stood withdrawn since December 19, the deadline for surrendering the special passes by the US.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby pankajs » 03 Jan 2014 14:23

putnanja wrote:Wary US delays first India visit of new Asst Secy of State

While there is no official word from either side on the issue, sources confirmed that the new Assistant Secretary, Neha Desai Biswal, a person of Indian origin, was expected here on January 6 on her first official visit.

...
...
Washington, sources said, could have feared that Biswal may not get the official meetings to familiarise herself given the combative mood in South Block. Also, this week is crucial for the case as Washington is expected to take a call on giving Khobragade the G-1 visa — which would give her full diplomatic immunity — after she was posted to India's permanent Mission in the United Nations in New York.

As of now, the US side is said to have indicated that Biswal may still visit around January 13, but clearly the air of uncertainty following the diplomatic stand-off over Khobragade's arrest is threatening to impact scheduled bilateral interactions.

Now that special airport passes have been withdrawn she would have to pass through normal channels and perhaps be frisked in the process.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 15:22

The staff of "Policy Planning" of State Department report directly to Secy of State. Kerry. http://www.state.gov/s/p/staff/index.htm
Policy Planning serves as an internal think tank for the Department of State - undertaking broad analytical studies of regional and functional issues, identifying gaps in policy, and initiating policy planning and formulation to fill these gaps. Policy Planning also serves as an institutionalized "second opinion" on policy matters - providing recommendations and alternative courses of action to the Secretary of State. These people are placed perfectly to advise Kerry on India policy.
The current Director David McKean(2013-till date) is a Kerry loyalist for many years. The previous director Jake Sullivan(2011-2013), along with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, conducted a number of secret talks in Oman with Iranian government officials to explore the possibility of nuclear negotiations between the two countries. Those efforts paved the way for the Geneva interim agreement on Iranian nuclear program.
I see a Indian sounding name Sumona Guha in their staff.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Vikas » 03 Jan 2014 15:49

^ Why would Nancy Powell not travel to Nepal if her Airport Privileges are withdrawn. Does she not travel as a regular American when in USA ? It is not as if frisking is only for ordinary mortals and not for American-RAPE class.
Nowadays they frisk all and sundry even in US Airports besides the naked body shots.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 15:51

I will be exploring India's role in US-Iran secret negotiations since last 1 year. I request admins to please let it stew for a while and see what comes up.
Thank you
Below is a Nov 2013 article.
India always pushed Iran to talk directly to the US
NEW DELHI: In August 2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Iran's Supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran for over an hour.The PM's decision to travel to Iran during the height of the sanctions was not easy. Surprisingly, Washington held its peace, which helped the Indian government. In Tehran, Singh waited an entire day before meeting Khamenei. In fact, it was patently clear
to all that Singh wasn't wildly interested in the NAM summit for which he was ostensibly there. (Apart from Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, Singh only bothered to chat with Sheikh Hasina and Asif Zardari during his stay).
While Ahmadinejad evoked disbelief and bufuddlement in the Indian system, India regards Khamenei as a more pragmatic leader. (That isn't a view shared by the west.) India's message
was simple — Iran had to talk directly to the US on the nuclear issue because the sanctions regime was hurting Iran beyond tolerable levels. Iran was reluctant. The leadership said the removal of sanctions had to be a precondition. Separately, they admitted to their deepest fears — Look at Gaddafi, they said. He gave up his nuclear programme, and look where that landed him — robbed of his country, hunted down and killed. India has often been asked if it could play the role of a "mediator" between Iran and the US. Institutionally, India dislikes mediation. But, as high level sources said, if there was something specific, India would reach out. For instance, when 5 British sailors were taken into custody by Tehran in 2009, quiet calls were made by New Delhi, which helped to free them. In this case, New Delhi was tight-lipped, but subsequent travels by US' chief back channel negotiator, William Burns and Bob Einhorn to India told a different story. Both, in their conversations, pressed India to influence Iran. The western sanctions on Iran, coupled with the Syrian crisis, were hurting the country. In October 2012, a currency crisis saw protests in Tehran, which pointed to a deeper anger within the society. The NAM summit was itself overshadowed by gruesome exhibits of Iranian scientists murdered — by Israeli, they said. Israel denied it. For anybody driving through the streets of Tehran, a once vibrant city had lost its shine, its spirit. The stores were run-down and cheap Chinese products had taken over even at the historic Grand Bazar. By this time, India had reduced its dependence on Iranian oil significantly. Saudi Arabia had become India's largest supplier of crude. By end 2012, Iraq had crept to second position. India
was paying 45 per cent of its oil bills in Indian currency, stashed away in an account in Kolkata-based UCO Bank. The rest was transferred through Turkey's Halkbank, until that route too closed down in early 2013. India took to shipping oil by Iranian tankers, and the government worked out an insurance system as European re-insurers refused to touch Iranian energy freight.
Meanwhile, New Delhi was also building a security relationship with the Gulf Arabs, starting with Saudi Arabia. PM visited Riyadh in 2010, and after a visit by AK Antony, a security relationship with Riyadh took root. Most significant from India's point of view, was a growing cooperation on counterterrorism. Quietly, Saudi Arabia put important terror suspects on a one-way trip to India (described by IB wags as "courier packages", of immense help to India.
In the Persian Gulf, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar suddenly rediscovered old ties with India. (Oman is special in India's security matrix, having long been one of India's key partners in the Gulf, performing a crucial role in India's strategy in the Indian Ocean as well as being a potential security partner to check Chinese influence in Gwadar.) As the Syrian crisis deepened, Israel, India's closest buddy in the region, even made common cause with the Arabs, with a common enemy in mind. Every leader from the Gulf countries who visited India came with one message — tell Iran to back down from its nuclear programme.
Despite an avowed dislike for another nuclear weapons state in the region, Indians knew, having travelled a similar path earlier, that there would be no total turning back for Iran. No grand deal could envisage a complete reversal of the Iranian nuclear programme.
India would be able to live with a recessed programme by Iran, capping its enrichment plans to 5 per cent. But anything that allows a greater leeway for Iran to ever take to building up a weapon would have terrible implications for India. Such a deal could have been a red rag to both Israel and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has already threatened to access readymade nuclear weapons from Pakistan, whose nuclear programme was bankrolled by them. That would have been the worst of all options for India — a nuclear Iran and Saudi Arabia in a region roiled by sectarian conflict. And the Pakistan army — keepers of its nuclear arsenal — back on the ascendant. The present nuclear deal may have a hard climb to realization, but at least India has reason to cheer.
In the geopolitical context, India believed then, as now, that Iran had a role as the balancing power in a Sunni Arab-dominated region that is swiftly descending into a wider sectarian conflict drawing upon historical divisions between Shias and Sunnis, Persians and Arabs. Post deal, the world can look at stitching a better peace in Syria — the Syria conflict has become a playground for a large number of dangerous groups, from the Turkey-supported Al Qaeda group Jubhat Al Nusra to the Hezbollah-supported Assad. The future of Lebanon, Jordan hangs in the balance. It will have significant implications for both Turkey and Israel. Russia has asked India to join Geneva II negotiations, but it's unclear whether India would take up that invitation.
Separately, the US is lightening its footprint in the Middle East for a mix of reasons — its economy, rebalance to Indo-Pacific and a shale gas revolution. That is an opportunity and a challenge. India finds the politico-economic opportunity of more energy sources in the region exciting, giving New Delhi more choice than before, and without the US breathing down its shoulder. It is helping India form new political and economic partnerships in a region that has, for many years, been little more than a source of oil and valuable remittances. Looking for markets and expanding strategic influence, India has executed a quiet Look West policy in the past five years almost in tandem with its Look East policy. For all this to take shape, the Straits of Hormuz need to remain free and secure, since almost 80 per cent of India's energy crosses this narrow body of water. If the US' Fifth Fleet is reducing numbers __ it may come down to one carrier group from the present two __ India would benefit from Iran taking over the security of Hormuz, more than say, the UAE.

[b]In January Saeed Jalili, Iran's top official paid an important visit to New Delhi. In his meetings with national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, Jalili reportedly indicated Iran's willingness on a deal. But Iran still had to go through an election. And Khamenei was yet to be convinced. In March, Shivshankar Menon, NSA, paid an unpublicized visit to Tehran, where he was quoted saying, "New Delhi is after (sic) the establishment of comprehensive relations with Iran, including strategic ties." [/b]Of course, now that Iran has the opportunity to re-engage the world again, many Indian officials believe India could be the loser. Iran has never actually taken advantage of the rupee balance to increase trade with India, showing little interest in increasing trade with India. Instead, China has struck roots in Iran's battered economy. Now that the west is opening up again, Iran, many Indian officials say, may return to its natural market. "Iran is very western oriented," said officials dealing with Iran. India has been pursuing the development of the Chahbahar Port with Tehran for over a decade and it was only in 2012 that India managed to convince the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to lean on the Revolutionary Guards to allow the project to happen. The port is important for India — and even the US — as it promises an alternative access to Afghanistan and central Asia.
Could Chahbahar become an international project? In the past year, Indian government has pushed on Chahbahar — despite delays by India's own ministries, and the legendary difficulties put up by Iran. But as Afghanistan heads for home rule in 2014, and Pakistan risks becoming a Taliban battleground, the Iranian route could be the answer to Afghanistan's economic future.
Last edited by Altair on 03 Jan 2014 16:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 16:01

03/01/2014
Career diplomat William Burns steered the Iran talks quietly though rounds of negotiations - Washington Times
By Guy Taylor - The Washington Times Sunday, November 24, 2013
Away from pomp and fanfare surrounding the multiparty talks in Geneva that resulted in this weekend's nuclear deal with Iran, senior Obama administration officials and other sources are now
revealing that U.S. and Iran actually, and very secretly, have been engaged in high-level direct talks for more than a year. The discussions were kept hidden even from the four other nations negotiating with Iran in Geneva alongside the U.S. and from key ally Israel, according to The Associated Press, which reported Sunday that Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns and Jake Sullivan, Vice President Joseph R. Biden's top foreign policy adviser, have met face-to-face at least five times with Iranian officials since March.

The AP's revelation was confirmed in the main later Sunday to The Washington Times by a U.S. official on condition of anonymity. The revelation was a surprise in Washington's foreign-policy circles
since the Obama administration has spent recent months attempting to craft an alternative narrative around the high-stakes nuclear talks, which have accelerated at unprecedented pace recently and triggered tension between Washington and Israel, long seen as America's closest ally in the Middle East. In public, the administration's relations with Iran had appeared to be led by Secretary of State John F.Kerry and Wendy Sherman, undersecretary for political affairs who was believed to be Washington's chief negotiator with Iran during the recent multiparty nuclear talks.
But reportedly Mr. Burns — a lone career diplomat among the administration's senior foreign-policy circle of politically appointed officials — has been secretly sitting in the driver's seat the whole time, meeting with Iranian officials in the Middle Eastern nation of Oman and elsewhere with only a tight circle of officials in the know. The U.S. official who spoke with The Times on condition of anonymity said Oman had played a key "intermediary" role between the U.S. and Iran over the past year. While other officials, including Mr. Sullivan, National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and Puneet Talwar, a key Middle East specialist in the White House, also have been involved in the secret direct talks, Mr. Burns's behind-the-scenes role is the only one to stretch back to the final years of the George W. Bush administration. In July 2008, Mr. Bush dispatched Mr. Burns, then undersecretary for political affairs, to Geneva to personally receive a response from Iran to what at the time was a U.N. offer to resume talks over the nuclear program on the condition that the Islamic republic agreed to halt its uranium enrichment activities.
The mission appeared to be a failure, but it was a rare and direct contact between Washington and Tehran that set in motion what officials now describe as a delicate, back-channel diplomatic matrix —apparently constructed and led by Mr. Burns — that ultimately paved the way to this weekend's breakthrough deal. Upon his inauguration in 2009, President Obama cleaned house by removing nearly all of the Bush administration's politically appointed national security operators. Career diplomat William Burns steered the Iran talks quietly though rounds of negotiations
Mr. Burns, however, was kept on the job at the State Department and quietly given the task of holding a second discrete meeting with a top Iranian negotiator as the international community sought to boost the then-failing nuclear talks. A 31-year veteran of the department, Mr. Burns is considered a career foreign service officer, a rare breed of American diplomat revered by Foggy Bottom's rank and file for the political neutrality they are believed to espouse. When Mr. Obama moved to promote him to deputy secretary of state in 2011, it was considered something of a rare move, making Mr. Burns only the second career State Department official in history to reach the department's key No. 2 position — a slot traditionally coveted as a place for a sitting president to inject his own politically appointed foreign policy operatives. Once in the job, Mr. Burns was able to use his new weight to accelerate previous attempts to create an opening with Iran. He is believed, particularly, to have seized on an opportunity that had arisen during Mr. Obama's first term when it became clear that Tehran might be interested in negotiating the release of three American hikers detained by Iranian authorities in 2009. According to The Associated Press report, which cited U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, efforts to win the release of the hikers turned out to be instrumental to the future of the nuclear talks. After facilitating the release of the hikers to the U.S., Sultan Qaboos of Oman offered himself as a mediator in 2011 for a deeper U.S.-Iran rapprochement and the secret informal discussions between mid-level officials in Washington and Tehran began. The Wall Street Journal reported early this month that Mr. Obama tapped Mr. Talwar, his administration's top Iran specialist, to engage in direct meetings and phone conversations with Iranian Foreign Ministry officials. Citing unnamed U.S. and Middle Eastern officials, the report said that some of the contacts involving Mr. Talwar took place in Oman's ancient capital of Muscat, less than 200 miles across the Persian Gulf from Iran. The initial conversations were reportedly focused on the logistics of setting up higher-level talks. The discussions including face-to-face talks at undisclosed locations beyond Oman and reportedly also included exchanges with other senior Obama administration officials, including Ms. Rice, who was serving at the time as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. The last four clandestine meetings, held since Iran's reform-minded President Hassan Rouhani was inaugurated in August, produced much of the agreement later formally hammered out in negotiations in Geneva among the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and Iran. The Middle East news website Al-Monitor, meanwhile, reported that Mr. Burns has been quietly involved on the sidelines of the recent nuclear talks in Geneva but has not stayed at the main diplomatic hotel in the Swiss city, the Intercontinental, where many of the negotiations have taken place.


Please see the timeline. This revelation came late in November. I am not sure Kerry knew his deputy Burns was in Iran? If that is proved then we know the motive.
Last edited by Altair on 03 Jan 2014 16:21, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 16:08

It is also clear from both above articles that India has a secret channel which was used by US or UK or both to release hikers/sailors(Special Forces Personnel-Black Ops pseudonym) from Iran. This helped in creating a back channel for diplomacy between US and Iran. If Kerry did not knew(Plausible Deniability) that his deputy was secretly negotiating with Iranians on the directions from Obama and a little help from India, I can understand his motivations.
Last edited by Altair on 03 Jan 2014 16:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby SSridhar » 03 Jan 2014 16:22

VikasRaina wrote:^ Why would Nancy Powell not travel to Nepal if her Airport Privileges are withdrawn. Does she not travel as a regular American when in USA ? It is not as if frisking is only for ordinary mortals and not for American-RAPE class.
Nowadays they frisk all and sundry even in US Airports besides the naked body shots.

That is the 'entitlement' they expect from a country steeped in 'VIP Culture'. And, India has been obliging and even going overboard all these years and it takes some time to get used to normal behaviour without protocol and privileges in India.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 16:47


Altair
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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby Altair » 03 Jan 2014 17:30

If we RTI for who visited Oman from India paid by MEA especially during the visits by Burns to Oman , I am sure we will get the names. :-)
Now that I have posted ,GOI will redact it or simply destroy any such evidence. My bad.

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Re: India-US Strategic News and Discussion

Postby vic » 03 Jan 2014 17:51

One should google steffy case in Stark county to get an idea how strip search rights are misused in barbaric and dehumanizing ways.


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