Kerry calls Sushma Swaraj, countering ‘extremism’ on the agenda
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, called the recently appointed Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to discuss strategic ties, besides inviting her to the US. Further, Kerry conveyed his desire “to continue broadening and deepening our bilateral ties, including our robust economic and defense relationship, and working together on global challenges like climate change and countering violent extremism," Times of India reported on Friday quoting US state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. While one set of analysts predict a strengthening of Indo-US ties under the BJP rule, others however suggest that the possibility of the centrist Modi government aspiring to be a regional hegemon cannot be ruled out.
In the cabinet of Modi, Rajnath Singh from the Hindi heartland who has deep roots in the Hindu nationalist RSS, is the Home Minister. Sushma Swaraj, whom many analysts consider to be a political novice, is the Minister of External Affairs.
Sushma Swaraj’s conduct in mollycoddling the genocidal Sri Lankan state in the past also brought severe condemnation from Tamil activists.
Analysts suggest that Arun Jaitley, who has been appointed as the Finance Minister and as Defence Minister for the time being, is the person to watch out for. Reputed to be an articulate person in the BJP, he is also known for his sympathies to aligning with the West.
However, the possibility of India aspiring to being a regional hegemon, to a great extent independent of US pressure, and aligning itself with China and maybe even Russia, cannot be ruled out.
Analysts argue that Modi is the proverbial “wild card” and it is hard to decisively say which way he will go.
All the same, informed opinion suggests that whichever direction India takes, Tamil Nadu will be playing a key role in shaping India’s policy towards Sri Lanka and that a more dynamic Tamil Nadu- homeland-Diaspora alliance is the need of the hour.