Trying to explain US-India relationship, Pragmatic at Indian National Interest, unfortunately falls for some old markers of the relationship and gives the notion that US has everything to give and India has nothing to offer in the apparent disparate relationship.
We are not so sure. We'll come to what India offers US in the relationship in a little bit. First, we like to remind ourselves that we proposed fairly early on, when the relationship were in the heady phase of nuclear deal and strategic upswing, that US-India relationship was predicated on George W. Bush being president of US. Most commentators thought otherwise - they convinced themselves that it was generational relationship that is independent of US presidency.
Obama's presidency, despite having Hillary Clinton, who has close ties to India community in US, as Secretary of State, is proving to be otherwise in more than one way. To be fair, the trend of Obama's presidency seems to be that US antagonizes its friends and be submissive to its enemies and competitors.
The issue with Headley is more than transactional. If US covers up the one single clearest lead to the deadliest terror attacks of Mumbai 26/11, on Indian soil, what kind of relationship is it - strategic or otherwise? US is behaving like Pakistan lite when it comes Islamic terror emanating from Pakistan region - on LeT, on Headley, on the whole Islamic terror apparatus that is targeting India.
Assume, for a moment, the opposite; that India is in possession of a terrorist who killed 166 Americans. And the terrorist has linkages to Indian security apparatus. Won't US immediately use all available avenues such as diplomatic, military, trade, western media (and ever obliging Indian media) to browbeat India into submission. We would venture further that US would impose economic and military sanctions if India doesn't comply.
The dismay of Indian strategic establishment, and few commentators, even as Indian ruling government dithers on the confusion emanating from Washington, is a non-response compared what Washington would have done if India responded similarly.
By the way, despite what Robert Blackwell, a close Indian friend and voice in Washington circles, had to say about what India wants and India can give, India also reciprocates to US pursuit of strategic relationship with open markets, open visa policy, open trade, nuclear power deals, weapons purchases, and, the latest, very generous nuclear liability bill targeted specifically at US companies
It's incredible to think that India has nothing to offer to US. With US in the economic dumps, and China pushing back on US on trade and currency manipulation, India is the only other large growing market that US companies can look to for future growth.
We don't think we need to undersell ourselves. India should use all avenues to push to get Headley talking, understand global reach of LeT and other Pakistan sponsored Islamic terror apparatus, and, more importantly, take actions to thwart and beat back those terror forces.