May 22, 2012
Hillary Clinton’s Asian Adventure
by Jeswant Singh@Project Syndicate
Jaswant Singh is the only person to have served as India’s finance minister (1996, 2002-2004), foreign minister (1998-2004), and defense minister (2000-2001). While in office, he launched the first free-trade agreement (with Sri Lanka) in South Asia’s history, initiated India’s most daring diplomatic opening to Pakistan, revitalized relations with the US, and reoriented the Indian military, abandoning its Soviet-inspired doctrines and weaponry for close ties with the West. His most recent book is Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence.
New Delhi (05-16-12) -On her recent trip to China, Bangladesh, and India, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was eager to trumpet America’s “New Silk Road” strategy, which she unveiled last September. But the Silk Road was a trade route, whereas knife-edge diplomacy dominated Clinton’s Asian tour.
Nothing about Clinton’s trip was as path-breaking as her visit earlier this spring to Myanmar, where she met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein to lend her support to their delicate political dance, which may yet bring the country into the global democratic fold.
Her trip opened with the always-tense annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which was threatened at the start by the plight of the blind human-rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who had taken refuge in the United States’ embassy in Beijing. [Read On]…