rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Last updated on: November 2, 2012 14:19 IST

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

     Next

Next
Tanvi Madan

Why sometimes not being mentioned in a debate is a good thing, says Tanvi Madan, Fellow and Director of The India Project at The Brookings Institution.

Following the foreign policy debate between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, there was much comment about the omission of a number of countries and issues.

tanvimadanAmong the Indian Twitterati -- as well as others in the Twitterverse -- there was some consternation about the fact that neither candidate mentioned India.

Laments followed about what this said about the state of the US-India relationship and about the importance of India. Viewed through a different prism, however, India should probably be glad that it was left out of the discussion.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: There was some consternation about the fact that neither candidate mentioned India, says Tanvi Madan, pictured above
Photographs: Jason Reed/Reuters

     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Consider the countries that did get mentioned the most (leaving aside Mali): Afghanistan, China, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and Syria.

They are either countries (a) on which the two candidates disagree, (b) considered to be in crisis or a threat to US national security, and/or (c) seen as important to mention because they are perceived by the candidates as resonating in crucial swing states like Ohio (China) and Florida (Israel).

Seen in this context, Indians and advocates of India might want to breathe a sigh of relief that it was not mentioned.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: A cafe in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Photographs: Sharon Perry/Reuters
Tags: , China , Romney , India , Israel

Prev     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

For one, there aren't major disagreements between the candidates on India: If anything when India has come up in this campaign cycle, it has been mostly in the context of who has done more (or less) to maintain and further support the US-India relationship.

Second, it is a good sign for India that it is not seen as being in crisis. To remember what that was like, think about the time when it was most often brought up in discussion as being part of the 'most dangerous place in the world.'

India is also not seen as a threat.

China was the large Asian country that was portrayed as threatening -- either to US jobs at home or to American economic and security interests around the world.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: China was portrayed as a threat, says Tanvi Madan
Photographs: Claro Cortes/Reuters
Tags: India , US , Romney , Obama

Prev     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Advocates of India and US-India relations should probably be glad that, unlike the rise of China, India's rise was not mentioned by the moderator just before he asked, 'What do you believe is the greatest future threat to the national security of this country?'

Finally, in previous campaigns when India has come up as a political issue, it has been in the negative (think outsourcing and the Obama campaign labelling then-Senator Clinton as the Democratic Senator from Punjab in the 2008 primaries).

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: It is a good sign for India that it is not seen as being in crisis, feels Tanvi Madan
Photographs: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Prev     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Indian-Americans, while more and more politically active and seen by both parties as increasingly important to court, have not reached the stage where they are seen to mean the difference between a swing state being in the Democrat or the Republican column.

So, positive shout-outs to India in the political context weren't likely to be high on the priority list of either candidate.

Advocates of US-India relations should be thankful that India at least did not come up in the negative, with China instead taking the heat on outsourcing.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: Advocates of US-India relations should be thankful that India at least did not come up in the negative, says Tanvi Madan
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Overall, there were some other omissions that were more surprising -- the Eurozone crisis and the pivot/rebalancing towards Asia among others.

In a debate where a country like China was only mentioned 10, 15 minutes before the debate was scheduled to end, the lack of mention of India was hardly a surprise.

One can debate the overall quality and range of the foreign policy discussion, but the omission of India from the discussion should not spark another round of doubt and hand-wringing about the US-India relationship.

Please click NEXT to read more...


Image: There were some omissions, such as the Eurozone crisis, that were surprising, she says.
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     Next

Good, Obama and Romney didn't mention India

Prev     More
Prev

More

There's a broader case to be made that India needs to think about what it needs to do to maintain its importance to the US and that it can't take this importance for granted.

Even if it had been a critical or long-term ally, however, this would not have guaranteed a mention. After all, think about how much -- or rather how little -- countries like Australia, Britain, Japan and South Korea came up.

This commentary was originally published by the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC


Image: Some countries like Australia were hardly mentioned, points out Tanvi Madan
Photographs: Reuters

Prev     More