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...The trip was fruitful, producing nine signed agreements, including the much-discussed-in-India Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), as well as an agreement on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers.A closer look indicates, however, that the visit only institutionalised the status quo at best, or, if one takes a more pessimistic view of India's situation, reflected the deterioration of its regional position.To guard against the latter, India ought to strengthen partnerships with neighbours China will certainly not be shy about doing the same.The new BDCA, the fifth since 1993, commits the two sides to "maximum self-restraint".It states that neither side shall use its military capability against the other. ...Indian Express on Oct. 29, 2013, 12:23 a.m.
...However, US vice-presidential visits to India do not happen frequently, and this one was seen to demonstrate signs of a strain between the two countries.Real difficulties do indeed exist.At their epicentre are the major differences over Afghanistan and, more generally, a lack of steadiness and transparency in US regional policies.New Delhi fears a deal between Islamabad and Washington to ensure a smooth US withdrawal from Afghanistan, potentially through an Islamabad-brokered peace deal with the Taliban.Instead, India would like the US to give Kabul the military means to contain the Taliban.It is doubtful whether the assurances given by the US vice president have provided any comfort to the Indian decisionmakers. ...Indian Express on Aug. 2, 2013, 5:35 a.m.