3 things to watch from Hillary Clinton's India tour
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday.
July 19th, 2011
09:27 AM ET

3 things to watch from Hillary Clinton's India tour

From TIME's Global Spin blog

By TIME's Jyoti Thottam

President Obama grabbed hearts and headlines with his state visit to India last fall, and there was a lot of talk about bringing the two countries closer together. It's “a defining partnership of the 21st century” between “natural allies” who have committed themselves to a “strategic dialogue.”

What does it all mean? It's up to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to sort that out during this week's trip to India. She arrived Monday night in New Delhi, had meetings on Tuesday with top officials, including the Prime Minister and National Security Advisor, and heads Wednesday to the south Indian city of Chennai.

It's a delicate time for U.S. interests in the region. The raid that killed Osama bin Laden has all but unraveled the U.S. alliance with Pakistan; Afghanistan is steeling itself for the withdrawal of U.S. troops; and India is seen by many U.S. voters as a serious economic threat, not an opportunity. Those challenges make this visit especially important.

Here are 3 things that are or ought to be on the agenda (and check out 3 more at TIME):

1. PAKISTAN. The mutual suspicion between the U.S. and Pakistan has reached a level of intensity that perhaps only India can appreciate. And yet, even after cutting $800 million in aid to Pakistan Washington is sending the message to New Delhi should work on improving its own relationship with Islamabad. Former state department official Karl Inderfurth has been the most visible proxy: "She [Clinton] will encourage India to do all it can to engage Pakistan, to find areas where they might be able to break down some of their barriers and build some kind of confidence in each other."

India is doing just that, despite the disruption of last week's triple bombing in Mumbai. Talks planned for next week between the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries are still on, as is a lower-level meeting on cross-border trade in Kashmir. Why is India doing as the U.S. says and not as it does? The U.S. does not want to further destabilize the Pakistani government, and India can score an easy win with its new “strategic partner” by staying the course. And, as Ashley Tellis of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told Reuters, “The Indians see the United States as finally waking up to the problem of Pakistan, and they do not want to interject themselves into that process.” As for Clinton, she said on Tuesday that the U.S. was "encouraged" by the ongoing talks between India and Pakistan.

Related:TIME: The challenge of Pakistan

2. TERRORISM. The July 13 serial bomb blast in Mumbai immediately raised concerns about the possibility of Pakistani involvement. Inderfurth appeared on television on the night of the bombing to say it was “inconceivable” that Pakistan might have been involved, asserting that this attack was the work of an “indigenous” group. It's not clear whether he was privy to any specific U.S. intelligence, but Indian officials seem to have come to the same conclusion. The investigation has focused on Indians who are already under suspicion for their involvement in local jihadist groups. Still, that doesn't mean India ought to go it alone. The ill-defined “Indian Mujahideen” is a loose network operating all over South Asia and the Persian Gulf, and draws at least ideological support from Lashkar e Taiba. To understand the Indian Mujahideen, investigators here will need the support and expertise of their counterparts in the FBI and CIA. India and the U.S. are the two most visible and valuable targets for South Asia's jihadi militants; or, as Clinton put it on Tuesday, "We are allies in the fight against violent extremist networks." Her visit should make intelligence sharing between them permanent, no matter what the source of last week's attack.

Related: TIME: Mumbai - Has jihadi terrorism struck again?

3. AFGHANISTAN. The Indian foreign ministry spokesman made sure to use the phrase “regional issues of interest” in his briefing about Clinton's visit. It's a signal that New Delhi is keen to have the U.S. publicly acknowledge India's role in Afghanistan's uncertain future. The Associated Press reports that Clinton will deliver a message to allay fears that the Taliban (seen by India as a Pakistani proxy) will gain the upper hand, reassuring India that the U.S. “will not support Afghan reconciliation with insurgents unless it is inclusive and protects the rights of minority groups, religions and women.” This is a tricky balancing act. Pakistan resents any Indian involvement in Afghanistan, and India hasn't reached total consensus about whether it should rely on soft power in Kabul, as it has in the past, or engage more forcefully. Clinton will spell out the U.S. regional vision in a speech Wednesday in Chennai.

Read 3 more things to watch for (and the complete article) from TIME's Jyoti Thottam

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Topics: Afghanistan • Diplomacy • India • Pakistan • Politics

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. TalkSense

    Im so sick and tired of hearing Americans complain about 'jobs shipped offshore to cheap labour'. What you guys will NEVER admit to is that all these Indian IT guys are all engineers and most times post grads from top colleges in India..If you dont believe me..talk to a few of them.Indian IT companies are very exclusive in their recruitment process...so one can also say that jobs have been off shored to more educated and talented people.Also,thats the prize you pay for living in a globalized world...i dont hear anyone complaining about American coke and McDonalds being sold in other countries...its a 2 way street..ACCEPT IT

    July 20, 2011 at 11:43 am | Reply
  2. Kevin Smith

    We are least interested about Indain/Pakistan issues and sadly CNN is being hijacked by people like Freed to use it for their personal self interest or that of home country. When Americans are without jobs who cares about anything else. Don't tell there is no real American qualified enough to do a job that Mr. Freed from India is doing.....

    July 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • No Nonsense

      Hey if you are not interested in whats happening around the world..then don't read this article which was in the 'Around the World section'..no one held a gun to your head.Watch your local news or glen beck or whatever you small town folks like

      July 21, 2011 at 12:09 am | Reply
  3. brako

    watch out for cow turds on indian streets

    July 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  4. scott

    wouldn't it be nice if Madam Secretary would make a point to ask why the Indian government turns a blind eye to widespread child labor and human trafficking? I for one think this is an issue that can and should be addressed.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  5. blogger

    they work while we blog

    July 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  6. RM

    The second message to India (ie Manmohan the bearded terrorist) that needs to be delivered by Hillary should take one minute. India (Cowistan or shall we say Monkeyistan) has become too big too govern. It can't even protect its behind. So it needs to be broken down, western part to Pakistan, eastern to Bangladesh, northern to China and southern to Sri Lanka. Bombay and some surrounding areas will be remnants of India where the Hindus can practice Kama Sutra in their temples.

    July 20, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • skp

      paki don't bother about India , think about pronistan which is going to explode soon into 4 or 5 independent countries

      July 20, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  7. TrueIndian

    East or West India is the best.

    July 20, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Reply
  8. lex

    Hillary is getting old and ugly and sometimes does not look well. Why no media coverage themed on an aging Hillary?.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:30 am | Reply
  9. RM

    The third message that should be delivered by Hillary to India is that Hindus have historically been a meek and slave nation (ruled by (Mongols, Muslims (Moghals), British et al). They can think of UNSC seat etc but can never get there so should concentrate on doing America's dirty work in South Asia. After that they should take a bath with lifebuoy soap (due body odor in their DNA), have some daal and chapaati with some onions and go to bed to get up the next morning and clean up America's excretion again. Unfortunately that is their legacy as history would teach us. Before it was communist USSR that screwed them and now US will continue to make them subservient. Meanwhile the Arabs use them as cheap slave labor. And that is their destiny.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:05 am | Reply
  10. madabtmumbai

    the fact is no matter wat ppl say thanx to their ignorance and petty knowledge ,India is well on its path to tremendous success and will shine.coz hate comments and distorted versions are mere words...and the youth of india is busy in making an impact on the world..otherwise how would ignorant morons get soooo freaking jealous enuf to talk bull crap abt India's evident progress..even as we wage the war of words on this portal, back in India, progress in some or the other field is being made with every passing minute!!...so go on..talk crap,curse...but deep down, the haters know..India is Shining...thanx to amazing intelligence of Indian youth..be it in IT, Medicine, Management, ..... !!...try to compete in actions..not filthy words..cheers....

    July 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  11. Masood

    The victim of Afghanistan war zone since 1980 when USSR occupied only Pakistan. in matter of supply ,war, zone millions Afghans refugee accommodated by Pakistan not any other country in south Asia ,even now Afghans third generation grow up they don't want to go back their home land. Pakistan also have it’s own population issue and being poor country and always tension on its border with Indian army India (Kashmir issue) was major ally to USSR IN Afghanistan. Pakistan lost their every thing due to support in Afghanistan and USA interest too. Pay heavy cost, no one country in the world did such long time and in such a manner except the Aid which USA providing but it not cover prices as compare to loses to nation.
    Daily 200 and 400 Nato supply trucks from Karachi port to Afghanistan.
    All this happen with Pakistan what you call Al-Qaeda, Taliban ,terrorism, USA and Pakistan only country fight with in Afghanistan against USSR. Not India , no china ,no IRAN .. for years that war games goes on and on than USSR defeated and broken in parts.. that is fact ..
    Now if Pakistan not go help Afghanistan and fight together with USA against communists.Pakistan will be more better situation and more developed country.
    Before 1980 Pakistan growing economy country, in 1970 Pakistan growth rate higher than Korea and Malaysia. Major European companies investment share holder in market.
    Due to Afghanistan issue and security situation step by step goes worst Pakistan goes decline’s.US done his task and happy go back no more interest in Pakistan. chine’s take advantages now if we look in all sector major China companies operating for money, as Pakistan also welcome chine’s because they not have any other option.
    Giving free transit trade to Afghanistan more than 30 years no tax. So If we all have a look history and whole matter in realistic approach for accepting right efforts and not just some media head lines news and pointing figures .
    India establish their spy agency centers not to support in Afghanistan ,their own agenda to destabilize Pakistan. where were the Indian when USSR 1980 ..
    so every one in Afghanistan playing Double game.. Pakistan have serious energy crisis, no one helping it,
    so simply by my point of view is that double game playing every one like USA granted Indian Nuclear big deal for his future energy needs.. India responded to cancel Gas pipeline deal with Iran -Pakistan.. But Pakistan have no option so solely sign gas pipeline with Iran but due to USA pressure project still pending from Pakistan side.. Pakistan suffers major issue only due to other countries interest and paying heavy cost fighting against terrorism. USA almost given if I am NOT WRONG 20 billion $ but Pakistan lost more than 70 billion lost ,,damages ,,suicide blasting,, terror attacks ..
    Simply Pakistan as front line state need to get out from Afghanistan war and world fight against terrorism too. Because every one point Pakistan Pakistan double game .. so no need to play any game just pay attention to his own issue energy ,development, growth and peace in his own land. Sealed all borders Afghanistan ,Iran and India too. send back all Afghanistan refugees to their own country as billion Afghanistan in Pakistan also major reason for terror attacks and major source to recruit by international different spy agencies and Militants groups too. Funding from India , middle east to these group to conduct terror attacks inside Pakistan.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Reply
    • Saba

      MUSLIM PAKI ARMY killed 3 million bengali muslims during the 1971 war ..IT IS CALLED BENGALI GENOCIDE

      INDIA HAS A SIKH PRIME MINISTER , DOES PAKISTAN HAVE A HINDU PM

      AS PER LAW IN PAKISTAN HAVE A HINDU PM, NO...BECAUSE IT AN ISLAMIST THEOCRACY

      AS ONLY GOATIES LIKE U WANNA DOMINATE,...PAKISTANI MUSLIM HYPOCRISY AT ITS PINNACLE

      WHAT S A SHAME ON YOU ALI

      THIS DISCUSSION IS ABOUT FOOD

      STOP DIGRESSING AND COME BACK WHEN TERRORISM IS THE TOPIC

      WE KNOW PAKIS WILL BE INVOLVED THEN like Mumbai attack, Sept 11 and Time square plot

      October 30, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Reply
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