Australia must engage India more in wake of Singh’s enhanced authority

May 21st, 2009 - 7:17 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh Melbourne, May 21 (ANI): There can hardly be a friend of India anywhere who does not rejoice at the electoral success of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the former Cambridge economics don.

The Kevin Rudd Government must swiftly take advantage of the new situation in India, reports The Australian.

Singh’s Government will be stronger on economic reform, though it is unlikely to move at dizzying speed. But Singh has identified energy and education as the two great blocks to Indian development. The nuclear deal addresses energy, but there will be much more liberalisation in the energy sector to come. It’s also likely that foreign universities will ultimately be allowed to establish campuses in India, both of which are obvious opportunities for Australia.

Rudd had planned to go to India in January, but Singh had a heart attack. Both Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith are determined to put India in the front rank of Australia’s foreign relations. Rudd is sure to visit India soon, says the paper.

Meanwhile, Indian and US intelligence agencies have concluded that a part of the Pakistani state that lent some support to the terrorists who attacked Mumbai last November, did so for a very specific reason, internal to Pakistan.

The Pakistani military was so desperate to escape US pressure to fight the Taliban in their northwest that they wanted to provoke a limited Indian military reaction. This would have justified abandoning the fight against the Taliban and rushing troops back to the Indian border.

The relevant intelligence agencies, including our own, further conclude that a further Pakistan-originated terrorist outrage after Mumbai would have virtually forced an Indian military response of some kind, even just a strike at terrorist training facilities in Pakistan.

Only the measured, moderate, mature leadership of Singh and his senior colleagues kept India calm in the face of the Mumbai outrage.

Now that Singh’s authority is massively enhanced, the dynamics have changed. One of the few good elements in the regional geo-strategic equation that we can rely on is steadiness in Indian policy, The Australian claims.According to the paper, Singh stands now as one of the greatest statesmen in Asian history. He is the first Indian Prime Minister to serve a full term and win re-election since 1961. He has brilliantly expanded India’s centre, marginalizing both its Left and its Right. (ANI)

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