WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama’s first presidential visit to India offers a unique opportunity to cement a global partnership with a rapidly emerging power. Set to become the world’s third or fourth largest economy by 2030, India could become America’s most important strategic partner.
In coming decades, a strong bilateral partnership will prove vital in managing the rise of China and promoting an Asian balance of power that is favorable to India, the United States, and Asia as a whole. India’s success as a democracy also strengthens freedom globally and protects broader American interests.
Yet, as many observers have noted, US-India relations have recently become listless and marked by drift. Both countries are to blame. Obama has understandably focused on competing priorities, including the troubled US economy and ongoing wars abroad. India’s government has been similarly occupied with domestic political struggles and the challenge of sustaining economic growth amid rising pressure for redistribution. Moreover, Indian officials must still nurture the small, albeit growing, constituency that supports a rapidly transformed relationship with the US.
This trip provides a great opportunity for both sides to reinvigorate a critical relationship.