In U.S. ardour against Iran, India has become an inadvertent casualty: Ashley Tellis

In U.S. ardour against Iran, India has become an inadvertent casualty: Ashley Tellis
Highlights

Ashley Tellis said if the US government does not make some hare decisions, it may lose India on issues of graver importance Tellis is a Senior Fellow of the Washington based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and also a former US diplomat

Ashley Tellis said if the US government does not make some hare decisions, it may lose India on issues of graver importance. Tellis is a Senior Fellow of the Washington based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and also a former U.S. diplomat. He says that India often became a casualty of policies directed against others. The Iran problem today is an echo of that older problem. In my view, this administration has an unfortunate obsession with Iran and is firing on all cylinders to constrict Iran. But the Iranian behaviour has been deeply problematic.

Replying to what gives him hope that waivers or carve-outs will happen, he said, “The administration has not yet come to the point when it has had make hard choices. I’m not surprised by the tough language because it is the natural consequence if the administration’s standard policy, it will have to make some difficult decisions, including some pertaining to our allies.”

Speaking about whether India is closer to being sanctioned over Russian trade he expressed his views that, “I think these Indian actions have unsettled many in Washington because they are viewed as a conscious Indian effort at recalibrating ties with the U.S. My personal reading is somewhat different. I see these as a tactical adjustment, partly in the context of India's own electoral calendar. Going into what looks like a tough election, PM Modi cannot afford new crises on his frontiers.

On being asked whether India has made a strategic shift, he replied, “ I don’t think India has made any fundamental strategic shift against the United States. Polygamous strategic partnerships have been the norm since the Cold war and will be the norm going forward. Not even China with its assertive behaviour has managed to catalyse a unified military alliance itself.

He shared views on Modi and Trump meeting to take ties out if this situation saying, “I think it is extremely important, especially with a leader like Trump. He is not an abstract theorist with a geopolitical strategy in the way that Bush or Obama were comfortable with geopolitics. With him, everything is personalised, so I hope there are opportunities for PM Modi and president Trump to meet. India can certainly charm anyone with pageantry and hospitality.

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