|SLUG: 2-270521 U-S election/India react||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE= U-S ELECTION / INDIA REACT (L-ONLY)
DATELINE= NEW DELHI
INTRO: George W. Bushs presidential election victory has elicited a generally positive reaction in the world's largest democracy, India. V-O-As Jim Teeple reports the consensus in New Delhi is that India will be better off with a Bush presidency than with a Gore presidency.
TEXT: Indian newspapers were generally upbeat about George Bushs victory. The Pioneer newspaper suggests that with Mr. Bushs victory, India will no longer be under pressure to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty - which bans testing of nuclear weapons. India and Pakistan both conducted nuclear tests in 1998. Ever since, both countries have been under intense U-S pressure to sign the C-T-B-T.
// OPT // The Pioneer also says Mr. Bush is unlikely to link environmental and labor standards with global trade treaties something the paper says has been used in the past to restrict exports from the developing world. And the Pioneer says if Mr. Bushs fathers record in office offers any indication, - his son will be far more forthright in his dealings with Pakistan than Mr. Clinton - and far less interventionist in his approach to India-Pakistan relations. // END OPT//
Another paper, The Times of India, notes that Mr. Bushs pledge to govern with bipartisan support offers a lesson for India - where The Times says no opposition party can cooperate with the government without attracting the charge of having sold out. Indias Financial Express paper says it is sticking to its contention made earlier that Mr. Bush was the better prospect for India than Mr. Gore - but it notes that the long battle over who would win the election has ensured that foreign policy has probably been seriously downgraded as a priority and that Mr. Bush will probably have less energy for foreign policy issues than would otherwise be the case.
Because of health problems during his visit to the United States in September, India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was unable to meet Mr. Bush during the campaign, but the two men did speak by telephone agreeing on the need for closer ties
between their two countries. Mr. Vajpayee was quick to congratulate the President-elect when word of his final victory became official.
Brahma Chellaney, a prominent policy analyst in New Delhi says senior Indian officials are probably breathing a sigh of relief over Al Gores defeat.
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Bush unlike Gore is not an activist. Gore is an activist on environment, on proliferation on trade and on human rights. All these
issues impinge on India in one way or the other. Especially on proliferation - Gore would squeeze India. Bush is far more pragmatic and Republicans in general have been more pragmatic. In fact the last time we had a Democratic president in the United States that was seen in this country as being quite pro-India Jimmy Carter he really messed up relations with India because he just focused on one issue nuclear non-proliferation.
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Brahma Chellaney says there is another reason Indian policymakers are likely to welcome a Bush presidency. Many, he says, believe a Republican administration will put more pressure on China - which he says is a strategic competitor of both India and the United States.
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His (Bush's) recognition that China is a strategic competitor of the United States in contrast to Clintons strategic partnership with Beijing will certainly increase Indias profile in Washington, and will help those who make policy in Washington look at India as a potential counterweight to China, in an Asia where the other major states have been declining like Russia like Japan which has been hit by economic recession southeast Asia which is torn by various feuds and wracked by
trouble. Therefore which country can be a countervailing force to a rapidly rising China? India is obviously is a prime candidate.
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Mr. Bush takes office at a time of unprecedented good relations between Washington and New Delhi. President Clinton became the first U-S president to visit India in more than two decades earlier this year. His visit was followed by a trip to Washington in September by Prime Minister Vajpayee.
Mr. Clinton's charisma charmed Indians of all political persuasions and sharp differences over policies on nuclear proliferation and trade issues, and U-S efforts to serve as a facilitator on Kashmir were downplayed by both sides. Analysts say the question being asked by many in India's capital these days is whether those differences will continue to be downplayed in a Bush administration. (SIGNED)