In hosting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week for the first state visit of his administration, President Barack Obama can claim to be taking India seriously as a partner and rising power. But Indian doubts remain. U.S.-India relations are currently drifting, rather than surging forward as they had been for a decade. Bilateral ties developed an unprecedented intimacy under President George W. Bush, capped by an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation that required both countries to take considerable political risks and overcome stubborn international opposition. Building on work begun by President Bill Clinton, Bush and his Indian counterparts unshackled […]

Obama Welcomes Singh

President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speakat the official arrival ceremony for Singh. The ceremony is the firstof its kind since Obama has been in office. “It is fitting that you andIndia be so recognized,” Obama told Singh. The following days willpresent India and the United States with opportunities to discuss keyissues such as enhancing bilateral trade and the war in Afghanistan.

Describing the changes taking place in the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Henry Kissinger once declared that the unification of Germany would be more important than the integration of the European Union, the fall of the Soviet Union more important than the unification of Germany, and the rise of India and China more important than the fall of the Soviet Union. He was right. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of the Asian superpowers has been the most important factor in world politics. It is also the single trend most responsible for the increasing […]

Off the Radar News Roundup

– According to the People’s Daily, “Chinese experts” say China is not taking sides in the Kashmir dispute. The comments come in response to a Kashmiri separatist leader applauding the U.S.-Chinese joint declaration’s reference to promoting India-Pakistan reconciliation. I suspect President Barack Obama will also walk this back at the first opportunity during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit. – Meanwhile, in a CNN interview in advance of his visit to Washington,Singh ruled out redrawing Kashmir’s borders, drawing a protest from Islamabad. – China’s defense minister traveled to North Korea in the latest of a series of high-level defense meetings […]

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s scheduled visit to Washington on Nov. 24 is imbued with a special significance for both the United States and India, one magnified by the fact that Singh is the first head of state to be accorded the honor of an official state visit since President Barack Obama moved into the White House. The prestige accorded to India is befitting its growing geopolitical heft, its example as a peaceful and peace-loving nation and its status as the world’s largest democracy. And there’s no denying that the invitation has also helped mellow the resentment […]

Pushing India toward Iran

One of the consequences of the U.S. dependence on Pakistan to achieve its goals in Afghanistan is the way in which it drives India and Iran closer. That’s because their interests in Afghanistan largely converge, in opposition to those of Pakistan. It’s also obvious that U.S. interests in Afghanistan more closely align with those of India and Iran than with those of Pakistan. But to actually operationalize that would essentially turn the Afghanistan war into the Pakistan war. Clearly, the ideal solution would be for India and Pakistan to resolve their differences, and for the U.S. and Iran to do […]

U.S.-India Relations: Follow the Money

Ambassador Robert O. Blake, recently appointed to his new role as assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs, spoke to a room teeming with India experts yesterday at the Asia Society in New York. Though Blake has been a career diplomat, spending 2003-2006 as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Mission in New Delhi, his message was clear — the future of U.S.-India relations rests on the shoulders of the private sector. In advance of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s upcoming visit to the White House, Singh’s first state visit since President Barack Obama has been in office, […]

Saudi Arabia’s possible purchase of at least $2 billion of Russian military equipment has the potential to be the most significant Russian arms deal in the Middle East since the Soviet Union transferred SA-2s to Nasser’s Egypt. By all indications, it seems that the two countries have reached an agreement for the arms transfer, after a two-year negotiation period. The deal may be part of a larger process that leads to a significant realignment in the external relations of both parties. The arms transfer agreement, which covers a broad spectrum of weapons, is guided by the agreement on cooperation in […]

Off the Radar News Roundup

– South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak rules out a North-South summit without an end to the DPRK nuclear program. – The EU and India set ambitious goals for bilateral trade, but a long-negotiated free trade deal is still being held up by disagreements over EU demands on regulatory standards (a major component of EU soft power). At the same summit, the two sides signed a civil nuclear agreement on fusion research. – Another Indian free trade agreement, this one with South Korea, is set to take effect now that South Korea’s parliament just ratified the deal. Trade between the two […]

TOKYO — Those seeking political symbolism for Asia’s faultlines need look no further than the Dalai Lama’s press conference here on Saturday — complete with criticism of China, and delivered before he heads off for an extended stay in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. Perched on India’s frontier with China, Arunachal Pradesh’s disputed border has been the focus of growing tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. On Friday, former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra became the latest in a series of respected Indian commentators warning of possible Chinese military action. The two countries fought over the state, which China […]