The State News :: Former Tajikistan ambassador speaks at MSU

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Relations, Tajikistan

When it comes to international relations, U.S. diplomat Grant Smith has the perfect analogy.

As Smith explained the relationship among India, Pakistan and China, he said their future success depends on individual country development instead of waiting to react to other nation’s actions.

“You don’t think of countries as billiard balls; you have to think about what’s going on in each country,” he said, as each action can cause other countries to react.

Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan, spoke Tuesday afternoon to an audience of about 25 people in the International Center for a seminar titled “The India-China-Pakistan Triangle and Its Impact on U.S. India Relations.”

The event was cosponsored by the Asian Studies Program and the Muslim Studies Program.

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Smith’s long career in diplomacy has him well-placed to speak about the three countries’ relations, said Mohammed Ayoob, Muslim Studies Program faculty member and international relations professor.

Ayoob also said he and Smith have been good friends for four decades, at a time when

U.S.-India relations were more tense than they are today.

After falling out of touch with Smith for a short time, Ayoob said he was privileged to introduce the ambassador to the crowd Tuesday.

Smith is an expert on international relations in East Asia, after having served in the Indian Foreign Service, but he said it will be difficult to tell how successful his work as a diplomat has been until history has time to judge it.

“It’s a process of two steps forward and one step back, or one step forward and two steps back,” he said.

“And it usually is 20, 30 or 40 years until you know which it was.”

International relations sophomore Varsha Koduvayur said Smith’s explanation of the long effects of diplomacy was a perfect example of how international relations works.

“You can’t see the effects immediately,” she said. “It’s not just two countries but their populations and their allies (as well).”

In terms of the triangle relationship between the three countries at the heart of the discussion, Smith said all three have benefited from development and investment within the others.

During his time in India, Smith said he could see the growth of the country’s influence in the world through the growth of the Indian Caucus in the U.S. Congress, which he said is second in size only to Israel’s caucus.

via The State News :: Former Tajikistan ambassador speaks at MSU.

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