'India-US relationship is goingto be generational'

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  1. sasi

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    'India-US relationship is going to be generational' - Rediff.com India News
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    E rstwhile commander in chief of the United States Pacific fleet, Admiral Walter F Doran (retd), whose association with India goes back 34 years to his attendance at the Indian Defence Services Staff Collegein Wellington, Tamil Nadu, says it is imperative that Americans understand that"the US-India relationship is going to be a generational issue."
    Doran, who participated in the rollout of the seminal report published by the Wadhwani
    Chair in the US-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, acknowledged, "As Americans, that's kind of a difficult pill for us to swallow."
    'We tend to want to move very quickly, our businesses report to the Wall Street every quarter -- our publicly-trade businesses -- we have an election every four years, we tend to want tosee immediate results and return on invested capital," he said. "These are the termswithin which we look at things."
    But Doran warned, "This will not develop that way. This is going to be a generational issue but it is worth a generation of work."
    "India, quite frankly for the United States, from a very selfish point of view, is too important, and will continue to be too important to either be ignored or put on the back-burner or be allowed to succumb to this feeling of fatigue to a certain degree that has come over the discussions right now," he argued.
    Doran said it was important"that we remember how far we've come and not forget theprogress that we've made."
    He lauded the CSIS report, US-India Military Engagement: Steady as They Go, and said,"The idea of re-igniting the US-India relationship is set perfectly and the military-to-military relationships are a perfect place to start to re-ignite that relationship."
    Doran reiterated that the military-to-military relationship was the ideal place to start "because there is a natural -- particularly in the maritime sphere understanding between these two bodies."
    "There are of course difficulties on both sides that will have to be overcome," he acknowledged, and noted that despite the progress that hasbeen made, "there is still an incredible amount of baggage on both sides that will have tobe addressed."
    Earlier, Doran provided a fascinating and nostalgic insight into his attendance over three decades ago at the Indian Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Tamil Nadu and the friendships he built up with fellow students, including ArunPrakash who went on to become an admiral and chief ofIndia's naval staff, while he took over as commander of the US Pacific Fleet and their working in concert when the horrific tsunami struck the Indian Ocean in December 2004.
    He hoped that "my relationships can reflect the importance of the informal relationships than can be developed between military officers at a very young age that then can be matured overthe length of a career and on occasion will have great significance when these officers come into positions of important commands or major commands."
    "Also, in my case, it never ceases to amaze me the curious manner in which my relationship with India focusedand also shaped the rest of my 38-year navy career," he added.
    Doran said, "I am sure that nobody in the bureau of navalpersonnel, when they put my family on that plane to India, did that with the expectation that I would be the Pacific fleetcommander some 30 years later. But it did work out that way and I was continuously drawn back to India throughout my career."
    "When my family and I arrivedin the Wellington cantonment…we found ourselves surrounded and amidst a group of really remarkable young military officers," he said, and recalled, "Amongst my colleagues were Arun Prakash, Sureesh Mehta, bothof whom went on to become chiefs of naval staff, Bobby Bharathan, who went on to become the vice chief of navy staff for Arun and served as the attaché for the Indian Navy here in Washington," in 1993.
    Doran said, "The close, familiar bond was established between ourselves and our families after we left," after their stints at the college in Wellington.
    "These relationships were built upon real friendship and real trust. These relations were valued and they were triggered personally throughout the years that they took on a greater significance when I assumed the position as the Pacific fleetcommander."
    Doran said, "These were all very important relationships between men who had known each other at that point for about 30 years. That set the stage for the tsunami which hitSoutheast Asia in December of2004."
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