Some weeks ago I received a list of twenty nine Indian Americans who are presently supposedly holding high positions in the US Administration, including offices in the White House.
The list seemed unbelievable. It was sent to me by one himself an Indian American and for a time I felt an intense desire to publish it. but then I because hesitant. What if the list proved to be totally incorrect? What I being taken for a ride? But then, to what purpose? After a great deal of thought I decided that I would drop the idea. It is no secret that many Indian Americans are holding top jobs in the fields of trade and commerce, as much as in the field of education like, say, Amartya Sen. We have also seen a couple of them elected to the Governorship of states. But how completely integrated are Indian Americans in American society as a whole? That is, perhaps, a matter for deept study.
It was once said that a large percentage of Indian Americans had found employment in NASA which is creditable to them. Some time ago I remember reading a report that one Puneet Talwar has been nominated by President Obama to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs. President Obama is generally taken to be India-friendly and indeed has claimed that he wishes India to be a strategic partner with the US. It is a far cry from the early days following India gaining its independence when America knew little, or practically nothing, about us.
India was for Americans a land of beggars, holy men, cows wandering in the streets and poverty everywhere. Things, naturally, have changed, and to a remarkable extent. Among the list of top Indian American names I received is one Taara Ranganathan, described as “Special Assistant to Susan Rice”. Rice is National Security Adviser who has recently supposed to have expressed her “impatience” with Indians. What has India done to merit this “impatience”?
According to Shivashankar Menon, India’s “deepening strategic partnership (with the US) does not mean that we won’t have our differences”. As he put it, “this is inevitable between countries in different circumstances, at different levels of development and in dissimilar geopolitical situations.” But the US apparently does not trust India. It comes as a shock to learn that two of the most important never-centres of Indian diplomacy outside the country – the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations and the Embassy in Washington DC – have been targets of “such sophisticated bugs implanted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) that entire computer hard discs might have been copied by the American agency”.
Consider the following: There is no world war on. The era of Non-Alignment has been dead for a long time. India is no friend of China to indulge in spying for it. India seems even to have to some extent, been alienated from Russia.In such circumstances what is it that the US has reason to be suspicious of India?
The US according to The Hindu has accepted its duplicity, maintaining that “the US gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations”, the argument being that all nations – even nation friendly between them – spy on each other, so what’s the big deal? If that can be taken as true, then the US spies also on the United Kingdom, France, Germany and many others and one has then to take for granted that these friendly countries react the same way towards the United States.
The question is: What damage may have been done by US eavesdropping on India’s diplomatic centres? It is difficult to know. An Indian Embassy spokesman is reported as saying that the country’s buildings have “adequate measures in place”, to safeguard secrets, one sophisticated approach would be to take nothing seriously and keep good relations going. No matter what, spying will continue and one has to accept reality. Besides, one has to remember that Indo-American relations have have had several ups and downs in the past.
The best thing is always to be honest and frank with each other so that there is really no need for spying and creating mistrust.
India should continue to be friendly with the US because it is practically the only country in the world with which it can relate easily, thanks to language and even more importantly because of a growing and substantial Indian presence in the country.