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Obama Presidency Poses Challenges for New Delhi

India Times, Posted: Nov 07, 2008

While Indians have been very pro-Barack Obama, an Obama administration does make the strategic establishment in New Delhi nervous according to an op-ed by Siddharth Vardarajan in The Hindu newspaper. The concerns are renewed U.S. activism around Kashmir which India would like to keep a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad. Obama has also made statements against outsourcing and may pressure India to forswear nuclear testing. India also does not want to get re-hyphenated with Pakistan.

India also is wary of some of Mr. Obama's foreign policy advisors like Anthony Lake, Strobe Talbott, Robert Einhorn and Richard Holbrooke who have not been very friendly to India especially on the nuclear deal though VP-elect Joe Biden has. While New Delhi doesn't expect the bilateral trajectory set by George W Bush to change radically, they expect a shift in emphasis. In an editorial in The Times of India, Indrani Bagchi agrees that many of Obama's advisors are in a "solve Kashmir" phase which could result in Democrats trying to offer the carrot of a Kashmir solution to Pakistan in return for Islamabad cracking down on its northwestern border. Pakistan's army chief has reportedly told U.S. generals he cannot concentrate on two borders at once. India would rather a President Obama push for the Pakistani military to forswear involvement in politics.

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