India-US Relations: Future Trajectory
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Issue Vol 24.4 Oct-Dec2009 | Date : 16 Dec , 2011

The US–India Joint Business Council has an impressive spread sheet of what India and the US can do together in the economic area. But, apart from the agenda being rather one-sided, with the focus on US expectations in terms of accelerating the pace of economic reforms, the canvas is too wide, not sufficiently prioritized, and requires in many cases changes in Indian legislation, etc, which would be a time consuming process.

It is entirely possible that the India–US relationship may acquire in due course some of the dynamism of the US–China relationship on the economic side because of high Indian growth rates, the potential of India’s human and technical resources and increasing US investment in India, and that, unlike in the Chinese case where the relationship has undercurrents of competition for power and influence exacerbated by differences in political systems and values, the engagement with India may be eventually more comforting mutually.

The challenge before India is to leverage US strengths to its advantage, give an increasing stake to the US in India, but protect India’s vital interests and independence of action. The US has to be engaged positively, but without illusions that our respective strategic interests in the foreseeable future will become convergent equitably.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Kanwal Sibal

is the former Indian Foreign Secretary. He was India’s Ambassador to Turkey, Egypt, France and Russia.

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