The US-India Partnership Is Too Important to Lose
Tensions stemming from the war in Ukraine and the American withdrawal from Afghanistan have strained the strategic partnership between the US and India. But President Joe Biden cannot afford to alienate America’s most important partner in countering China’s rise.
NEW DELHI – The strategic partnership between the United States and India is pivotal to maintaining the balance of power in the vast Indo-Pacific region and counterbalancing China’s hegemonic ambitions. The US is India’s second-largest trading partner, and deepening the ties between the two countries is one of the rare bipartisan foreign policies that exists in Washington today.
The upcoming October 18-31 joint military exercise known as Yudh Abhyas (War Practice), in a high-altitude area less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from India’s border with China, highlights the partnership’s growing strategic importance. India holds more annual military exercises with the US than any other country, as the two powers seek to improve their forces’ interoperability. As Admiral Michael M. Gilday, the US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations, put it recently, India is a “crucial partner” in countering China’s rise.
But President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan and effectively surrender the country to a Pakistan-reared terrorist militia, in addition to tensions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have strained the relationship between the world’s most powerful and most populous democracies.