21 September, 2020

Big Brother To Uncle

The Joint Working Group on terror is but one manifestation of changed bilateral ties

Atul Loke
Big Brother To Uncle
Defence minister George Fernandes' recent Washington visit must surely count as one of the most ironical in some time. Cast firmly in a Eurocentric mould, the minister is reputed to be somewhat blinkered about the US and China. His last week's visit seems to have dispelled some of his inherent scepticism about Uncle Sam, obvious from the decision to have the most meaningful navy-to-navy engagement India has ever had with the US.

New Delhi has been consistently making the point that in the Indian Ocean India is at the very fulcrum between the Straits of Malacca and the Gulf of Hormuz. On his trip to Washington, Fernandes was told the US would be happy to have Indian naval escorts for US navy vessels bound for Southeast Asia. This concedes New Delhi's argument that the Indian Ocean is India's natural area of operations—and influence.

The US proposal is now under active consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs. When cleared, it will mark a progress from the "passexs" stage—a naval term describing the manoeuvrings and signallings at the time ships of...


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