Early warning signs of any disease should never be ignored and Niki Halley the US Ambassador to the UN’s statement about the US considering a role in the Kashmir dispute shouldn’t be ignored by India.
While India has stuck to its position on Jammu and Kashmir as a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan and reinforced the centrality of terrorism at the core of this, there is a bigger worry for India.
Has the MEA Not been able to engage Trump Administration enough which promised to act tough on the issue of terrorism.
Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar who has led India’s US policy as the Ambassador to the US and as the Foreign Secretary, was recently in the US had come back with a bag full of assurances.
And the statement coming after this clearly points to a disconnect or a missing diagnosis that India has failed to read.
Halley is a Cabinet member in the Trump administration and while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been quiet most comments on public diplomacy has emanated from her. Clearly, she is articulating what is being discussed in Washington.
In diplomacy, public statements shouldn’t be ignored and the bigger danger is that India’s core concern on terrorism may get side-stepped if the US gets bogged down by the mediation narrative.
In the coming days, New Delhi will need to focus on energies on reasoning out with the US on the H1B visas and immigration issue which may affect genuine Indian professionals and all this could get on a low priority zone if the Trump administration gets entangled in the Kashmir issue.
The other problem is that early reading of Trump is that he gets carried away by impulsive thinking and there is all the more reason for India to engage with him and convey India’s core concerns on terrorism and why his focus should be on stamping out terror swamps then getting diverted on the Kashmir issue.