Ashley Tellis Wants Trump to Continue US Policy of "Strategic Altruism" With Modi's India

In a piece titled "The India Dividend: New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia" published in Foreign Affairs journal, authors Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump Administration should continue the US policy of "strategic altruism" with India that began with US-India nuclear agreement. They want President Trump to ignore the fact that the US companies and economy have only marginally benefited from this policy. They see India as a "superpower in waiting" and urge Washington to focus on the goal of having India as an ally to check China's rise. They see Chinese support for India's archrival Pakistan and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond as threat to India.

Who is Ashley Tellis:

Ashley Tellis was born and raised in Mumbai, India. Back in 1999 as a “researcher” at RAND Corp, he contributed to a report for US Department of Defense (DoD) that forecast Pakistan would “disappear” by 2015. It proved to be wishful thinking.

Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region that Ashley Tellis contributed to:

1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".

2.  Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".

3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".

4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.

5. China "blinks at US-India Collusion".

6. Pakistan "disappears".

Source: Pentagon Asia 2025 Report

He is promoted as a South Asia "scholar" by various Washington Think Tanks he has worked for. Currently, he is with Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington DC. His hostility toward Pakistan shows through in all his work.

Criticism of Trump's India Policy:

Blackwill and Tellis have praised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama for ignoring long-standing US policy on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and for pushing US-India nuclear deal through.  At the same time, they have criticized Trump for "leaving even staunch pro-U.S. stalwarts such as Modi wondering whether India could ever count on the United States to come to its aid in the event of a major crisis with China".

The authors take President Trump to task for "focusing less on India’s potential as a partner than on its unbalanced trade with the United States". The Trump administration has  recently withdrawn India’s privileged trade access to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.

Trump's Afghan Policy:

The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized.

Blackwill and Tellis don't explain how Trump can end America's longest war while protecting Indian interests in Afghanistan.

Strategic Alturism:

Blackwill and Tellis want Trump administration to continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism". They praise the US administrations that preceded Trump in the following words:

"A strong India was fundamentally in Washington’s interest, even if New Delhi would often go its own way on specific policy issues. Both Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, turned a blind eye to India’s positions in international trade negotiations, its relatively closed economy, and its voting record at the United Nations, all of which ran counter to U.S. preferences".

Summary:

Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump administration should continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism".  The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests".  They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized. In other words, they want US-India relations to be a one-way street where all the benefits flow from US to India in the expectation that at some point in the future India would be useful to counter China's rise in Asia.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#America's ex #defense secretary #Mattis calls for #US, #Pakistan to maintain cautious relationship. Says in book "Call For Chaos" there is an active self-destructive streak in its political culture. “They don’t have leaders who care about their future.” https://www.dawn.com/news/1503608

Their common interests demand that the United States and Pakistan maintain a cautious relationship with modest expectations, ar­gu­es former US secretary of defence James Mattis.

In his autobiography Call Sign Chaos, President Trump’s first defence chief notes that Pakistan’s complicated relations with India force Islamabad to seek a friendly government in Kabul.

Mr Mattis, a much accomplished general from the Marines Corps, was inducted into the Trump cabinet with great expectations but he resigned in January 2019 after differences with the president over Afghanistan and other issues.

The general, who has served in Afghanistan and commanded the US Central Command, opposes a rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan. His book hit the stands on Tuesday afternoon.

Former defence secretary says both sides should have modest expectations from each other

“Ultimately, it’s in our common interest that we maintain a cautious, mind­ful relationship, with modest expectations of collaboration,” Mr Mattis wrote while reviewing US relations with Pakistan.

“We could manage our problems with Pakistan, but our divisions were too deep, and trust too shallow, to resolve them. And that’s the state of our relationship to this day.”

On Tuesday, Gen Mattis also participated in a group discussion at the US Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, where the moderator asked him why he described Pakistan as “the most dangerous country” in his book.

“The radicalisation of their society. By the way that’s also the view of members of the Pakistan military,” he said. “They realise what they have got going on there. They recognise it.” He said the relationship between the US and Pakistan was “very twisted”.

“When you take the radicalisation of a society and you add to it the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, I think in the world, you see why … we need to focus right now on arms control and non-proliferation effor­ts,” he said. “This is a much worse problem I think than anyone writing about today.”

At several places in the book, Gen Mattis highlighted old ties between the US and Pakistani militaries, but expressed very low opinion about the country’s political leadership.

“Pakistan was a country born with no affection for itself, and there was an active self-destructive streak in its political culture,” he wrote. “They don’t have leaders who care about their future.”

Gen Mattis claimed that Pakistan “views all geopolitics through the prism of its hostility toward India” and that has also shaped its policy on Afghanistan as Islamabad “wanted a friendly government in Kabul that was resistant to Indian influence”.

The former defence chief also noted that the Pakistan military had lost more their troops fighting terrorists on their side of the border than the Nato coalition had lost in Afghanistan.

“Yet, they thought they could or at least manipulate the terrorists. But, once planted, terrorism was growing in ways that no one — not even Pakistan’s secret service could predict or control,” he noted.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indians tighten their belts as #economic gloom deepens. After surge of national optimism following Prime Minister #Modi’s first election victory in 2014, Indian families have since lost #confidence in their economic prospect. #Hindutva https://www.ft.com/content/70081172-cee0-11e9-99a4-b5ded7a7fe3f via @financialtimes


Kaushik Sengupta, 45, a product development manager for an export-oriented shoe manufacturer, is the kind of middle-class Indian whose family’s consumption should be helping power the economy.

But his decision in 2009 to buy a Rs2.4m flat from an ostensibly reputable property developer, who promised it would be ready in two years, proved a financially crippling mistake.

Today his unfinished flat on New Delhi’s outskirts is one of the estimated 465,000 residential units across India that were sold but never completed as property developers confronted regulatory issues, litigation over land titles or simply ran out of money.

For the past decade Mr Sengupta, like many others in his situation, has paid both a mortgage and rent, which together eat up around half of his Rs80,000 ($1,109) monthly salary. The rest goes on food, school fees and other household necessities, leaving little for discretionary purchases.

“I end up with nothing in my hand to spend,” he says. “It’s a disaster.”

There is just not enough money available at affordable rates

He is not alone in this gloom. After a surge of national optimism following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first election victory in 2014, many Indian families have since lost confidence in their economic prospects.

As they confront challenges ranging from an urban real estate crisis to a rural income squeeze and persistent lack of job opportunities for young people, India’s households are engaging in a collective belt tightening that has undermined economic growth.

India’s gross domestic product growth is in its fifth consecutive quarter of deceleration, figures published last week showed, tumbling to a six-year low of just 5 per cent year-on-year between April and June. That was down sharply from the already disappointing 5.8 per cent in the first three months of 2019, and from 8 per cent in the same quarter the previous year.

One of the biggest drags on growth was a sharp deceleration in private consumption, which had been one of the economy’s major growth engines over the past few years. Private consumption grew just 3.1 per cent year on year from April to June, down from 7 per cent growth in the previous quarter. On a quarter on quarter basis, private consumption contracted 6.7 per cent.


The shift has been exacerbated by a withdrawal of previously easily available consumer credit from now-ailing non-bank lenders.

“Consumers in rural and urban areas have reached the point where they cannot see any income growth,” said Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at India Ratings and Research. “Whatever little hope they had that things will improve is gone, and households have put a sudden break on their consumption.”

As a result, manufacturing has taken a hit. Its growth tumbled to 0.6 per cent year on year, with the car industry suffering a severe contraction leading to hundreds of thousands of job losses.

The grim data has stunned analysts, many of whom have now sharply lowered their growth forecasts for India’s economy for the current financial year to around 6 per cent, and prompted a rare public rebuke from Mr Modi’s predecessor, Manmohan Singh.


“The state of the economy today is deeply worrying,” Mr Singh, the former prime minister, said in a video issued by the opposition Congress party after the GDP data were released. “India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate. But all around, mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown.”

New Delhi has downplayed the magnitude of the economic change, pinning the blame on a deteriorating international economic environment stemming from trade tensions between the US and China. It has emphasised that India is still growing faster than many developed economies.
Riaz Haq said…
#Biden2020 in #DemocraticDebate debate in #Houston last night: "We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases..." #Pakistan #Afghanistan https://taskandpurpose.com/biden-us-troops-pakistan

Biden, who is attempting to secure the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election, mentioned his plan during Thursday night's Democratic debate in Houston.

When asked if President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was a mistake, Biden said no and quickly changed the topic to Afghanistan.

"We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know," Biden said. "We don't need those troops there. I would bring them home."

But given the Pakistani military and intelligence service's connections to the Taliban and terrorist groups, it is extremely unlikely that Pakistan would agree to host a U.S. counter-terrorism mission, said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, D.C.

Pakistan has long supported the Taliban's efforts to defeat the United States in Afghanistan, said Roggio, managing editor of The Long War Journal. Meanwhile, the Taliban continues to shelter Al Qaeda.

"American political leaders seem to have magical theories about what to do in Afghanistan and don't really want to do the heavy lifting in order to take on the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups there," Roggio told Task & Purpose. "The sooner American political leaders realize that Pakistan is an enemy and not an ally of the United States, the sooner we can move forward and deal with the problem."

Thursday's debate also gave Biden an opportunity to re-litigate the Obama administration's decision in December 2009 to drastically increase the number of troops to Afghanistan. Biden said he was opposed to the troop surge because he favors a more narrowly tailored mission in Afghanistan.

"The whole purpose of going to Afghanistan was not to have a counterinsurgency – meaning that we're going to put that country together. It cannot be put together. Let me say it again: It will not be put together. It's three different countries. Pakistan owns the three counties – the three provinces in the east. The point is that it's a counter-terrorism strategy."

It was not immediately clear if Biden is in favor of partitioning Afghanistan. In 2006, he co-authored an opinion piece in the New York Times calling for Iraq to be decentralized into Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish autonomous regions, but he later denied that he advocated for Iraq to be broken up.
Riaz Haq said…
#US-#Pakistan Relations Getting Back On Track. Pakistan to become an important U.S. key strategic partner following the U.S. troop withdrawal from #Afghanistan, says former acting special representative for AfPak Laurel Miller. #Taliban #India https://nayadaur.tv/2019/09/us-pakistan-relations-are-getting-back-on-track/

Miller said, “the U.S. will look to step back up to some degree its military relationship with Pakistan. The U.S. will look to Pakistan as a significant counter-terrorism partner in the region.”

Initially, she explained the U.S. will seek “the first option for the U.S. to have a reliable and capable partner in Afghanistan,” but she said “if that is not a long term solution…. then my prediction…” she emphasized, “not a policy recommendation” the U.S. would turn to Pakistan to partner work with them in the region — as they have previously.

She added, “I suspect once a U.S. withdrawal finally happens, we will hear the pentagon say…. even those who said we need to maintain a presence will shift their narrative to – ‘we can look after this form over the horizon’.”

But she added “there will be a desire to have a relationship on the ground within the region.” That is when she predicted the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the region will be resurrected, “if the Pakistan and Afghanistan area looks to be a fertile ground for terrorist groups, “she said, “then I suspect the U.S. will look again to Pakistan.”

READ Pak-US Relationship After PM Imran Khan And President Trump Meeting Based On Dynamic Process Models
Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Jarett Blanc, echoed Millers views. Blanc distinguished between the geostrategic and counterterrorism areas that were going to drive the strategic outcomes in the region.

He explained that from a geostrategic perspective U.S interests are only served by a withdrawal from Afghanistan as the U.S. military was limited in scope, “our troops are hostage to the G locks and the A lock in Pakistan…” he said, “we have no choices with our relationship with Pakistan if that becomes the necessary form of objective in our relationship.” Although if the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, this opens up the possibility for a different course in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Blanc agreed with Millers “prediction” for resurrecting the U.S.-Pakistan military relationship in the region.

Eds: This event was held before President Trump cancelled the talks.
Riaz Haq said…
#American Enterprise Institute's Derek Scissors: #Modi's #India "conducts policy as if it is already rich". "we should stop clinging to that (India's) potential and start to face reality" #Hindutva #economy http://www.aei.org/publication/time-to-give-up-on-india-economically/

India has an economic policy disease. While needing enormous productivity increases to become rich, it conducts policy as if it is already rich. What’s needed for a boom has been clear for a long time — land and labor reform. Instead, the discussion is of interest rate cuts and central government borrowing. Until that changes, the “India rising” story should be shelved.

There has been an overdone fuss over a quick drop in Indian gross domestic product (GDP) growth, from 8 percent a year ago to 5 percent in the most recent quarter. Most likely GDP decelerated before this year’s election but was manipulated to avoid showing this. The sharpness of the decline is probably due to official data catching up to reality.

India’s obsession with GDP is a more durable problem. GDP is merely correlated with vital outcomes such as employment and wealth; it should not be the performance benchmark. Five percent GDP growth would be adequate if household incomes outpace it, and if it is labor-intensive. We can’t tell because joblessness has never been properly measured. No one in Delhi has wanted to know.

This has become a crippling failure; the principal reason to expect a decade or more of fast growth is the surge of India’s working-age population. The primary goal of policy should thus be gainful and productive opportunities for potential labor market entrants. However, decision makers don’t even see the true state of the labor market, much less make policy on this basis.

It follows immediately that core reforms have little to do with more spending. First, measure joblessness. Second, liberalize labor markets. The vast majority of Indian firms, and all firms with 300 or more employees, cannot fire workers freely. The obvious impact is that they also don’t hire freely. They miss growth opportunities, which means the economy misses growth opportunities.

The same phenomenon put another way: India can only become richer if it becomes more productive. Productivity is hamstrung when basic hiring and firing decisions are warped by the state. Officials talk incessantly about demographic expansion, but labor policy devastatingly discriminates against making new workers productive. Against that failure, government spending pales.

Land reflects labor. The foundation of all development is escaping subsistence farming. Indian policymakers actually fear this because labor restrictions mean the economy can’t absorb the workers created if farming moves beyond subsistence. Rather than trying to boost agricultural productivity, they pass truly abysmal land laws and offer subsidies that do nothing to bring farmers prosperity.

The standard response is that such labor and land liberalization is politically impossible. India can indeed boom for 20 years, with near double-digit annual income growth, to become the third-largest national economy. But if Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t even start to make it happen after a second, sweeping election victory, we should stop clinging to that potential and start to face reality.

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