Monday, July 20, 2009

Drinking From the Fire Hose: U.S.-India 3.0

Secretary of State Clinton is in India this week and announced, as expected, that relations with India are a priority and are going to be ramped up and become less formal; "U.S-India 3.0" is how Clinton described it.
MORE attention? That's great, but U.S. policymakers need to move more slowly. Perhaps the less formal relations will improve the process, but India, despite a huge population, has a limited number of bureaucrats and can make progress on only so many issues at a time. The agenda for Clinton's trip included everything from climate change (where India pushed back), education, food security, nuclear energy, and space cooperation. Wow. No wonder a deal on end-use monitoring is still being negotiated at the last minute--South Block (the equivalent of India's State Department/Foggy Bottom) must have been working day and night just to read the briefings and proposals on all the other issues. The trip and the deals have barely made news here in the States, whereas in India they are front page news. The United States needs a little patience. It's not easy to drink from the Foggy Bottom fire hose.

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