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U.S., India’s Goals Diverge in New Delhi’s Near Abroad

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The United States has been active in its policies toward the smaller countries of South Asia in the Indian Ocean region. In recent weeks, the U.S. concluded its third annual security dialogue with Bangladesh and sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes. Since early 2014, Washington has called for new elections in Bangladesh after much of that country’s opposition boycotted national polls, and last year the U.S. pursued a defense agreement with Maldives that would have allowed rights for U.S. military personnel visiting the country.

These policies reflect careful consideration of U.S. strategic interests and democratic principles, but India has not viewed all of them favorably. While there is certainly much convergence between U.S. and Indian aspirations for stability in Afghanistan and East Asia, structural cleavages characterize both nations’ political and strategic approaches to the smaller countries in India’s backyard. ...

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