On Jun 28, 2012, a group of eminent security experts held an intense and wide ranging interaction with Mr. Jason Issacson, Director of Government and International affairs at the American Jewish Committee in Washington. The informal interaction, held at the Foundation’s premises, focused primarily on the subject ‘Indo-US Relations: Global Partnership’, but as expected and hoped for, it included a whole range of other related issues such Pakistan’s support to terrorist groups, the nuclear proliferation of Iran, the growth of radical Islam in the Middle East, the rise of China in Asia-Pacific region and the bilateral relations between India and Israel. Mr Jason was however accompanied by Ms. Patty Friedman Marcus, Director of the Asia Pacific Institute at the American Jewish Committee. With Ambassador Prabhat Shukla Joint Director VIF in the Chair, others who took part in the interaction included Mr Ajit Doval, Director VIF, Mr. AK Verma, Lt Gen (retd) RK Sawhney, Vice Admiral Raman Puri Brig Arun Sahgal and Brig Vinod Anand.
The interaction opened with Mr. Jason making out a strong case for much closer cooperation between India and the US than what they have been able to achieve so far, a view shared by Director VIF who also underscored the fact that notwithstanding differences in perceptions in few areas, the two sister democracies needed to evolve a common world view in their own interests. Mr. Jason stressed that in view of new sets of challenges confronting the two nations, the choice they faced was not one between cooperation and avoidance or between cooperation and aloofness, but between closer and less close cooperation. While he advocated the need for India and the US to build on the promises made in the civil nuclear agreement, he also urged for building architecture for inter-dependence. Mr. Jason also said that greater exchanges between the officials of the two countries at all levels would go a long way in fostering better and stronger ties. Chiming in with his views, Mr. Doval said that a joint net assessment of common perceptions was necessary, especially to confront common challenges. He however said that area of specific cooperation between the two countries needed to be identified as the future direction in the relationship.
The interaction which followed Mr. Jason’s brief presentation also dealt with several complex issues in a very cordial atmosphere, illustrating eagerness on both sides not only to appreciate each other’s point of views, but also to work together for achieving common national objectives.
Report prepared by Sanjay Kumar