The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited India today and talked with the Prime Minister and other members of cabinet on matter of international security. The meeting focused mainly on India’s response to the threat from Pakistan and its position on Iranian oil.
Clinton met with the Indian Minister for External Affairs SM Krishna today to discuss the joint efforts of the countries in international relations. India refused to stop importing oil from Iran entirely after the United States urged all of it allies to do so in order to prevent the country from pursuing its nuclear arms program. Although they refused the prospect of a cold turkey approach India has made efforts to reduce its intake from the country though the Secretary of State today urged them to take that to a more severe level.
A report from Reuters today shows the country has reduced its intake from Iran by 34% between March and April of 2012.
On Pakistan, one of the most compelling security issues for any Indian government, the Secretary of State was severe in demanding the country stamp out its status as a safe haven for terrorist activity. The country has been implicated in many separat lines of state sponsored terrorism within and outside its own borders. The most famous example of course is the harboring of Osama Bin LAden. It has not been confirmed that Pakistani officials knew of his presence in the country though it is clear that they were not notified of the attack.
India and Pakistan have been old enemies since the splitting of the state into two (and later three) parts. Indian’s are constantly worried of attacks from the country that have claimed many lives in the last decade.
Of particular importance today was the Pakistani government’s attitude to Hafeez Said who is blamed for a 2008 attack in India’s financial center Mumbai. That attack claimed at least 168 victims and left over 300 wounded.
India’s failure to cooperate on Iranian sanctions must be troubling for the Secretary as she induces them to partner with the United States on additional efforts. On Pakistan a mutually beneficial strategy is easy to build but other issues may have India parting opinions with the United Stated.
The country is armed with nuclear weapons and houses about one sixth of the world’s population. It is quick emerging as a major economic power and the Unites States would prefer to have the world’s largest democracy on its side rather than against it. For India though the promise of alignment from the world’s lone superpower is not enough for it to abandon its own advancement, at least not entirely.
The visit to India wraps up Hillary’s 8 day visit across Asia. The tour was dominated by the crisis which unfolded in the wake of a Chinese dissident seeking safety in the confines of the US embassy in Beijing after evading house arrest. That crisis was solved perhaps not satisfactorily but certainly punctually by Clinton who will now return to the United States.