safeguarded from unilateral termination by the United States because of extraneous considerations. Recent Indo-U.S. history is replete with examples of unilateral action by the United States, and it would be imprudent not to draw lessons from these examples. A successful global strategy against terrorism requires stability and the continuity of cooperative efforts that are bilateral, regional, and multilateral. If cooperation is ever halted through mutual consent, both parties will have residual responsibilities, such as the nondisclosure of shared data, information, and technology to third parties.
Terrorism is becoming more high tech than in the past. Correspondingly, more contemporary tools, techniques, and systems have to be developed and deployed to combat terrorism. These need to be sold to Indian agencies as part of a normal transaction between the two governments. This would be the fourth parameter, and one that has a strong bearing on the theme of this seminar.
It is necessary to mention that strategic cooperation in counterterrorism would be just one element, albeit new and relevant, in bilateral affairs. It is inevitable therefore, that progress in this area of cooperation would be reviewed in the overall context of bilateral ties between the two nations. The fifth parameter is the idea that cooperation should not be held hostage to the overall state of bilateral relations. Bilateral relations have witnessed highs and lows in the last 50 years, and this is inevitable.
Assuming that these parameters are adequate for a first-order assessment, what is the degree of compatibility between India and the United States?
Regarding the first parameter of shared perceptions, there is some convergence, especially after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, the level of convergence does not appear to be enough. The United States has raised counterterrorism to the level of a new “exclusivist religion” and has singled out al Qaeda as its target. India, on the other hand, is more bothered by militant tanzeems organizations operating from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir and, occasionally, from other countries. Contacts between al Qaeda and tanzeems in India do not appear to be strong, although Osama bin Laden has mentioned Kashmir along with Palestine and Chechnya in several vague statements.
India does not, and ought not, consider Muslims, in India and abroad, to be terrorists. India also refrains from U.S.-style racial or religious profiling because of its undesirable effect on the country’s composite polity and culture. Indeed, until September 11, 2001, scarred the homeland and psyche, U.S. appreciation of, and sensitivity to, terrorist incidents in other countries was weak. Further, U.S. geopolitics and the short-sighted highlighting of fundamentalist-extremist groups such as the Taliban have generated very valid cynicism in India. Dragon seeds were sown in the subcontinent by the United States, but their second- and third-order consequences were ignored. The irony of U.S. support to General Musharraf, a man who tries to stay in favor with both sides, is not lost in India. The priorities of India and the United States, therefore, appear to be quite different, even now.
U.S. policy is strongly perceived by Muslim nations, at the elite and mass levels, as one of singling out Islam. The fact is that many South Asian and Southeast Asian