Mowahid Hussain Shah Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's Washington visit has been sandwiched between President Obama's China trip and Obama being on the verge of announcing a new surge in US troops to Afghanistan - since mid-September, the president has held 10 meetings on his Afghan strategy review. According to NBC News: "On the day the president welcomed India's prime minister at the White House, it was Afghanistan that dominated." At Washington, DC, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Woodrow Wilson Centre co-sponsored a discussion with the visiting Indian Prime Minister, where this writer was invited. The remarks of the Indian Prime Minister - delivered in an unassuming and low-key manner - dilated on Pakistan and Afghanistan. The questions, too, were dominated on Indian perspectives on both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The gist of Manmohan's remarks were that the US and India have a "strategic partnership", they share the common values of democracy, rule of law, and Gandhian tenets, while also confronting the common threat of terrorism. He maintained that India enjoys "enduring civilisational links" with Afghanistan and India has a "sustained commitment" to continue to assist Afghanistan. He did not elaborate, however, how his impoverished country could afford to invest $1.2 billion in aid to Afghanistan. With respect to Pakistan, Manmohan said that India believes in normalising relations and discussing issues including Jammu and Kashmir as long as Pakistan is willing "to break with the past", "abjure terrorism and come to the table with good faith". He said that terrorism poses "an existential threat" and if militancy succeeds in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it shall be "catastrophic" for India as well as the region. He urged greater global pressure on Pakistan to "curb terrorism." It was evident from his remarks that India has yet to relinquish the trauma of the November 2008 assault on Bombay. Importantly, he recognised the "2.7 million Indian American community" who he said are now a powerful factor, having made good in America. On Iran, he said that India cannot accept Iran weaponising its nuclear programme but warmly referred to his recent meeting with Iran's foreign minister who he disclosed received his education as a student in India. He did not touch on the legally dubious Indo-US nuclear deal, which is deemed by experts as inconsistent with applicable international law. Given India's self-proclaimed status as a regional hegemon, the Chakwal-born Sikh made another plea for India to be made a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto powers. Though the vegetarian Manmohan is the recipient of the first state banquet given by President Obama at the White House - more ceremony than substance - there was virtually no coverage of his remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations discussion in the mainstream US press the next day. It reinforced Indian fears and frustrations of slipping from the spotlight in the wake of the concentrated attention on China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Unlike the Bush era, where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice generated considerable euphoria over Indo-US ties, the India-centric fever has abated somewhat under the Obama Administration, which views Pakistan as vital to the viability of the US military undertaking in Afghanistan. Parenthetically, it is another matter whether Pakistan's existing set of office-holders have the required vision and skills. India is vexed by a report by the top US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, to President Obama warning him that the "increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures." Then, too, America's huge economic dependence on China, which holds $800 billion in US debt and is viewed as crucial to US economic recovery, further limits Indian leverage. What was not highlighted during Manmohan's visit was the recent uproar in the Indian Parliament over the leaked Justice Liberhan Commission Report, which implicated the top leadership of the BJP for the deliberate destruction of the Babri Masjid 17 years ago, which in its aftermath left 2000 dead, mainly Muslims, with the police force watching. The same applied to the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in Delhi 25 years ago after Indira Gandhi's assassination. The slaughter of Sikhs was masterminded and spearheaded by sitting members of Parliament all of whom till today enjoy immunity from prosecution. The acclaimed movie Amu amply highlights the horrors of the 1984 mass killings in the Indian capital. Predictably, no reference was made to the atrocities being committed by Indian security forces in Occupied-Kashmir. Here, India and Israel are beneficiaries of Washington's tunnel vision, which refuses to treat state-sponsored excesses as terrorism unless of course the country happens to be Iran. Emma Sky, a civilian policy adviser to the top US military commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, has, according to The New York Times of November 21, stated on record that "attacks on insurgents that also resulted in civilian casualties were tantamount to mass murder." The huge disparity between its utterances and actions stand in the path of India's grandiose ambitions. India's caste culture, its brutal treatment of its own untouchable Hindu minority of 200 million people, its illicit occupation of Kashmir, its tense ties with neighbouring countries, and its crushing poverty and over-population, thwart India's bid to become the sole regional power in the subcontinent and South Asia. The writer is an advocate and a senior political analyst.