An Indian American delegate [Akshay Desai] to the Republican convention has said that India will be among the first countries US President George W Bush plans to visit if re-elected in the November 2 elections.
That’s pretty cool actually. What would the focus of the trip be?
He asserted that it was “very important for India that President Bush is re-elected” as that would lead to major improvement and strengthening of relations in all fields, including security, economic and trade.
I have no doubt that all of those issues would be important to Bush (but probably Kerry as well).
Desai said Indian-Americans enjoy significant influence and had a major hand in drafting of the manifesto on the American relations with India.
Comparing it with Democratic manifesto, Dr Desai said the Republican manifesto “gave much more space” to India unlike the Democratic document which had hardly one line in it. Besides, unlike Democratic manifesto, the Republican document does not seek to give “India parity with Pakistan”.
That shows the importance that the Republicans give to the relations with India, he added.
Does it always come down to India vs. Pakistan? For strategic regions our long-term support should probably be to move toward partnering closer with India (i.e. stable democracy vs. military dictatorship), but Desai’s statements left me with the impression that he is a first gen with opinions about Pakistan he has brought with him from the homeland. A priority for South Asian delegates should be issues that affect South Asian Americans first and South Asians a distant second. The left is equally guilty of this.