India a nascent great power, ‘indispensable US partner’

India a nascent great power, ‘indispensable US partner’

Washington: India, a nascent great power, is an indispensible partner of the US and a potential counterweight to China, a Congressional report has said ahead of the visit of US President Barack Obama to India.

“Long considered a strategic backwater from Washington’s perspective, South Asia emerged in the 21st century as increasingly vital to core US foreign policy interests.

India, the region’s dominant actor with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent great power and “indispensible partner" of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout," the Congressional Research Service said (CRS).

In its latest report to the Congress on India, the CRS sais the Obama administration seeks to build upon the deepened US engagement with India begun by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and expanded upon during much of the past decade under President George W Bush.

CRS is the independent bipartisan research wing of the US Congress, which prepares reports on various issues of interest for lawmakers.

A copy of the CRS report “India-US Relations" dated 27 October has been obtained by PTI.

“Many analysts view the US-India relationship as being among the world’s most important in coming decades and see potentially large benefits to be accrued through engagement on many convergent interests," the report said.

The CRS said with the lifting of Cold War geopolitical constraints and the near-simultaneous opening of India’s economy in early 1990s, the world’s largest democracy has emerged as an increasingly important player on the global stage.

India dominates the geography of the now strategically vital South Asia region, and its vibrant economy, military power, pluralist society, and cultural influence have made the country a key focus of US foreign policy attention in the 21st century.

This attention is to no small degree motivated by China’s longer-standing and more rapid rise, with many analysts viewing US and Indian geopolitical interests as convergent on many fronts, perhaps especially in the area of Asian power balances.

Ex-president G W Bush is credited with building on a new engagement launched by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and for more than six years the US and Indian governments have been seeking to create and sustain a substantive “strategic partnership," even as bilateral business and people-to-people contacts are flourishing, it said.