Washington: Observing that the new Indian government gives the US a fresh opportunity to re-start the bilateral ties, an ex-NSA has cautioned the Obama Administration of not demanding things from Prime Minister Modi, which he can't deliver.
"We have to understand that India has a transition. They have come from this nonaligned status and always through here was, "We want a more strategic relationship with the US but not too close," Stephen Hadley, National Security Adviser in former President George W Bush's administration, said.
"So I think what we have to do is be strategic of what we ask of Modi, taking into account his politics," he told a Washington audience at the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations ( CFR) yesterday.
"Let us ask him of things," he said, "that we think he can do and that really matter for us."
He also cautioned the Obama administration of not asking Modi to come out publicly with a statement supporting the US on every position it adopts in the UN or elsewhere.
Hadley, who played a crucial role in forging the civilian nuclear deal with India, said that "the historic agreement was important less because it was civil nuke, even though it would contribute to their needs on energy, but more because it was something that was very important to the Indians and visible to the Indians."
"And by concluding a nuclear deal, and at the same time insisting that they recognise their nonproliferation obligations as part of that deal, we sent a message to the Indian people that the relationship in the US was profoundly changed.
"And that opened up the possibility to work more closely with India," Hadley said.
He expressed disappointment that the promises of the civil nuclear deal have not been realised since it was concluded in 2008.
"I think the Modi government is a new opportunity to start again. I hope the (Obama) administration will do so.
But we've got more work to do, and there have been problems in implementing the nuclear deal but I think the biggest problem is really not focusing and taking advantage of an opportunity to bring that relationship along," he said.
Expressing hope that the Obama administration will see to it that that's one of the real contributions they can make in remaining two years, Hadley said, "now that they have Modi in place, who is a very strong leader and I think would -- would like to move forward.”