Friday, March 06, 2009

Alienating allies, II

The Business Standard reports that Obama is antagonizing India (hat tip Ghostofaflea):
If the United States ranks near the bottom amongst India’s defence suppliers, Washington’s penchant for imposing sanctions and restrictions has much to do with it. Now, the US appears to have shot itself in the foot again. The Indian Navy chose to power its indigenously designed, cutting-edge stealth warship, the INS Shivalik, with gas turbines from American company General Electric (GE). But even as the Shivalik readies for sea trials, the US State Department has ordered GE to stop all work on the turbines it has supplied. ....

When asked to comment specifically on blanket orders from the State Department to GE regarding commercial defence dealings with India, the US Embassy did not respond. ....

US defence industry sources indicate that GE is upset by the State Department’s directives, which clearly damage GE’s commercial interests. The ban, suggest sources, was imposed by an “over-enthusiastic State Department bureaucrat”, keen to display that the Obama administration was on the ball from the beginning. But in India, the ban is already generating talk of an unwise choice in going for a US engine.
With its population of 1.1 billion and its rapidly growing economy, India has the potential to become a major player on the world stage. While India had, historically, been an ally of the USSR, Pres. Bush had the foresight and initiative to create new friendly relations with this emerging power. Will the Obama administration continue the reverse course as part of its go-it-alone approach to foreign policy?

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