US may press India to sign CTBT: Blackwill
* Former US envoy urges US administration to stop differentiating between good and bad Taliban
* Advises next Indian government to launch ‘an intensive diplomatic offensive’ to build stronger ties with US
By Iftikhar Gilani
New Delhi: Former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill on Tuesday said New Delhi may face pressure from the Obama administration over signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Addressing a seminar on US-India relations organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said India should help the US in imposing sanctions on Iran.
Blackwill, who is currently associated with RAND Corporation, an influential US think tank, also pointed out the lack of communication and close relationships between the policy makers in Washington and in New Delhi.
“Although it is certainly early days, there are preliminary indications that the Obama administration has a different policy orientation towards India. First, it is not clear that the Obama administration has the same preoccupation with the rise of Chinese power and India’s balancing role in it,” Blackwill said.
Good and bad:
Blackwill urged the US administration to stop differentiating between good and bad Taliban to improve relations with India and sought India’s cooperation in dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapon programme.
He said the combination of vital national interests and shared democratic values augur well for bright future in ties between India and the US.
Blackwill was optimistic about the long-term prospects for US-India relationship, but he underlined that “in the immediate future, bilateral ties are likely to be more problematic than we have seen in recent years.”
Blackwill, who also served as deputy national security adviser in the George Bush administration, singled out differing perceptions on Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Iran, civil nuclear cooperation, CTBT, climate change, India’s nuclear weapons and protectionism as some of key problematical issues which could cause “a variety of problems in the US-India relationship in the next months and years”.
Blackwill also advised the next Indian government should launch “an intensive diplomatic offensive” to build stronger ties with Washington.
“I would hope that the next government would launch a very intense diplomatic offensive to build stronger ties. American behaviour will affect you more than your behaviour will affect us,” he said when asked about the perceived cooling off of ties during the first 100 days of the Obama administration.