The Global Social Network
In a piece titled "The India Dividend: New Delhi Remains Washington’s Best Hope in Asia" published in Foreign Affairs journal, authors Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump Administration should continue the US policy of "strategic altruism" with India that began with US-India nuclear agreement. They want President Trump to ignore the fact that the US companies and economy have only marginally benefited from this policy. They see India as a "superpower in waiting" and urge Washington to focus on the goal of having India as an ally to check China's rise. They see Chinese support for India's archrival Pakistan and China’s growing weight in South Asia and beyond as threat to India.
Who is Ashley Tellis:
Ashley Tellis was born and raised in Mumbai, India. Back in 1999 as a “researcher” at RAND Corp, he contributed to a report for US Department of Defense (DoD) that forecast Pakistan would “disappear” by 2015. It proved to be wishful thinking.
Here are the Key Points of Pentagon's Asia 2025 Report on South Asia region that Ashley Tellis contributed to:
1. Pakistan is "near collapse" in 2010 while India is making "broad progress".
2. Iranian "moderation" in 2010 while Afghanistan remains "anarchic hotbed".
3. Pakistan is "paralyzed" after an "Indo-Pak war 2012".
4. US launches conventional strike on "remaining Pakistan nukes" after the "Indo-Pak war 2012.
5. China "blinks at US-India Collusion".
6. Pakistan "disappears".
He is promoted as a South Asia "scholar" by various Washington Think Tanks he has worked for. Currently, he is with Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington DC. His hostility toward Pakistan shows through in all his work.
Criticism of Trump's India Policy:
Blackwill and Tellis have praised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama for ignoring long-standing US policy on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and for pushing US-India nuclear deal through. At the same time, they have criticized Trump for "leaving even staunch pro-U.S. stalwarts such as Modi wondering whether India could ever count on the United States to come to its aid in the event of a major crisis with China".
The authors take President Trump to task for "focusing less on India’s potential as a partner than on its unbalanced trade with the United States". The Trump administration has recently withdrawn India’s privileged trade access to the United States under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
Trump's Afghan Policy:
The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests". They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized.
Blackwill and Tellis don't explain how Trump can end America's longest war while protecting Indian interests in Afghanistan.
Blackwill and Tellis want Trump administration to continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism". They praise the US administrations that preceded Trump in the following words:
"A strong India was fundamentally in Washington’s interest, even if New Delhi would often go its own way on specific policy issues. Both Bush and his successor, Barack Obama, turned a blind eye to India’s positions in international trade negotiations, its relatively closed economy, and its voting record at the United Nations, all of which ran counter to U.S. preferences".
Robert Blackwill and Ashley Tellis argue that the Trump administration should continue "generous U.S. policies" not merely a favor to New Delhi but a "conscious exercise of strategic altruism". The authors are unhappy with administration’s approach to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for for failing "to consider Indian interests". They complain that their expectation that "Trump might put less pressure on India regarding....its relations with Pakistan" have not materialized. In other words, they want US-India relations to be a one-way street where all the benefits flow from US to India in the expectation that at some point in the future India would be useful to counter China's rise in Asia.