This week's Washington visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
carries high stakes for President Obama and U.S. interests. One of the
highest is our war in Afghanistan, which we cover here
. But also on the
table are economic, energy and cultural concerns. How can Obama engage
Singh and strengthen the close U.S.-India bond that President George W.
Bush is credited with forging?
- India Before China Arvind Subramanian of the Peterson Institute for International Economics worries Obama is favoring China over India. "Chimerica [a term for the Chinese-American partnership] is
a relationship of necessity, of expedient but uneasy
accommodations. India–United States is a relationship of choice between
people who share similar and enduring values," Subramanian writes.
"Success on trade, climate change, and other G-20 issues will require
India’s participation. Indeed, the United States may well find that
even bilateral issues such as China’s undervalued exchange rate are
more effectively addressed multilaterally with the presence of India,
Europe, and other emerging markets."
- U.S. Colleges Should Educate India The Far Eastern Economic Review's Vishakha Desai wants to focus on education.
"This may not sound as sexy as a civil nuclear energy deal, but
education has the potential to completely transform this bilateral
relationship," Desai writes. "Fifty four percent of India’s population
is below the age of 20 and
only 11-12% of Indians go to college compared to 22% in China. If
India is to truly take advantage of its 'population dividend,' it needs
to have a focused and urgent attention to secondary and tertiary
education." Desai calls for U.S. educational institutions to step up
for "a new level of global partnership in the American higher education
- Scientific and Military Partnership The Boston Globe's Nicholas Burns writes that "the president could build on common US-India strengths in education and
science by proposing more significant cooperation in space research and
environmental technologies that would play to the comparative advantage
of our private sectors and the 100,000 Indian students in the United
States." Burns also advocates selling "advanced American military technology" to India.
- Address Regional Concerns The New Atlanticist's Mohan Guruswamy insists
that helping India with China and Pakistan is key to securing its
economic partnership. "Now the leader of Asia’s fourth great economic
powerhouse comes calling. But while the others would have focused
mostly on economic and financial
issues, the Indian Prime Minister will have a very different agenda.
Despite an economy that is now expected to quadruple by 2020, taking it
very high up the global pecking order, regional politics will be high
on India’s agenda for the foreseeable future. As far as India is
concerned, its troubled geography with Pakistan and China determines
- Be Like Bush The Daily Beast's Tunku Varadarajan says
President George W. Bush set a high bar for U.S.-India relations.
"India had grown used, under Mr. Obama’s predecessor, to alpha-dog
treatment. George W. Bush was the best American president India ever
had, and Mr. Obama’s ability to take India for granted is, in some
measure, a tribute to the extent to which Mr. Bush locked the two
countries into a presumptively inseparable alliance," he writes. "In
fact, under Mr. Bush, improved relations between the two democracies
came to acquire an almost moral imperative, one than can—and
must—survive the short-term reliance on Pakistan in the war against the
Taliban in Afghanistan."
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