America’s Second Chance with India

NEW YORK – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, DC, in June garnered little public attention outside of India. Yet diplomats and military professionals in Asia and beyond were certainly watching closely. For good reason: the rapprochement between the world’s two most populous democracies could shape the world’s future.

It is worth noting that in his address to the US Congress, Modi invoked the word “partner” or “partnership” no fewer than 15 times. The official joint statement released by the two governments described India as a “Major Defense Partner” of the United States, eligible for advanced technologies with military applications.

The relationship between India and the US has evolved from one of cool distance to strategic proximity in a generation – lightning fast for geopolitics. The factors underlying this shift merit attention, for many of them are likely to bring the two countries even closer.

The Cold War’s end was a significant part of the bilateral rapprochement, because it eliminated the possibility of India’s continued association with the Soviet Union, as well as its rationale for embracing non-alignment.