Nov. 2 – The former campaign manager to U.S. President Barack Obama, Peter Dagher, suggested in New Delhi at an event organized by the Observer Research Foundation on Tuesday that India should follow China’s lead in conducting relations with the United States.
With just a few days until President Obama departs for his 10-day tour of Asia on Friday, Dagher’s feedback casts an interesting light on the agendas and actions of Asian countries, and how these countries make themselves heard in the global arena.
Obama is expected to address a host of economic issues including currency, trade imbalances, and collective action problems with regional countries India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.
Dagher’s comments, while independent from the Obama administration’s official foreign policy agenda, offer a candid picture of Sino-U.S. relations, and provide an interesting take on how India could boost its public image in the region.
In comparing India and China’s relations with the United States, Dagher bluntly observed, “If the slightest thing is said against the Chinese, they react. They do saber-rattling. You have heard the expression, the squeaking wheel gets the grease.”
China’s accelerated growth in the past decade has drawn much global attention, but increasing interest is being given to India’s economic progress. India’s GDP growth rate hit 8.8 percent this year, and is expected to grow in 2011. While China continues to best India in manufacturing, India’s potential continues to develop in service industries and outsourcing.
Dagher suggested that for India to effectively wield regional and global power, its economic potential must be coupled with a healthy dose of self-esteem. “It has to realize its power,” he stated at the event.