Why India doesn't want Holbrooke on their case

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Laura Rozen at Foreign Policy’s blog, The Cable, has already done outstanding reporting (here and here) on the Indian government’s successful efforts to influence the scope of Richard Holbrooke’s portfolio as the newly named envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to Rozen’s reporting, India had originally been considered to be part of Holbrooke’s job description until Indian diplomats and lobbyists in their employ worked to get it withdrawn.

The stated reason in Rozen’s two posts is that India wants to avoid “internationalization of the Kashmir dispute.” But during a 
conversation today with former senior National Security Council official Mike Green, an Asia hand, he shed some additional light on the subject.

“The Indians are worried that Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular are more interested in trying to solve the Kashmir problem, which they consider an internal problem, than on building a strong relationship with India,” Green said.

Going back to the Obama campaign, Green said, there were “strong signals … that the way you get more cooperation from Pakistan on terrorism is to give them something on Kashmir.”

“They worry that the Obama administration is going to push them on Kashmir, pressure them on the nuclear issue and nonproliferation and lose sight of the longer term rationale for the relationship, which is our shared democratic values, balancing Chinese influence, and encouraging India to become a pillar in the international system, a larger and more responsible player.”

Green called Holbrooke “a cruise missile.”

“When he locks on a target nothing gets in the way. The oversize personality of Richard Holbrooke is a large part of their fears,”  he said.

Green also said he has been “stunned about how open Indian diplomats have been, in conversations, about their negative 
reaction to Holbrooke.”

- Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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