The United States, during the Bush administration, started a very serious change of course in its strategic relationship with India — a huge democratic nation that has been at best ambivalent about relations with the United States for decades.
Barack Obama’s decision to throw his first State Dinner honoring the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh underscores this shift — which needs to happen without ratcheting up fears in Pakistan and China.
Steve Coll — one of America’s leading experts on South Asia, author of the New Yorker blog “Think Tank“, and President of the New America Foundation — sent this comment to me about his view of the US-India meetings here in Washington these last few days:
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a more important figure in India’s post-Cold War transition toward great power status than he’s generally credited with being.
In the early 90s, he helped pull India away from its failing socialist economy. More recently, he has proved himself to be courageous and visionary on the problems of Pakistan and terrorism.
Coll’s insights are useful I think for those who are trying to put this US-India meeting in a broader, more serious context than I think the trip has been receiving.
— Steve Clemons