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US foreign policy expert calls for deepening ties with India

PTI Washington | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 30, 2012

Obama Administration needs to address its institutional deficiencies to deepen its relationship with India, a prominent American foreign policy expert has said.

Observing that the US-India relationship is vital to maintaining a balance of power in Asia that is favourable to the United States, Ashley Tellis of the Brookings Institute said: “deepening the partnership requires the US President Barack Obama to address institutional deficiencies in Washington, cooperate with New Delhi on Afghanistan and Iran, build up India’s defence capabilities, and encourage India’s economic reforms.

An important institutional improvement would be integrating the India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan bureaucracies under a single directorate in the White House and bureau at the State Department, he said.

“In conjunction, Washington ought to designate a senior official with specific responsibility for India, since it must be expected that Pakistan and Afghanistan will naturally consume substantial leadership attention in the foreseeable future,” Tellis said.

The Obama Administration in the second term, he said, should seek continued India’s cooperation in achieving its goals in Afghanistan and Iran.

“Partly because of disenchantment with Pakistan’s duplicity in counterterrorism operations and partly because of the recognition that Afghans often welcome Indian reconstruction activities more warmly than they do other international programmes, the Obama administration has strongly endorsed India’s contributions to efforts in Afghanistan and urged their expansion,” he said.

In the months ahead, Washington should encourage the Indian Government to increase its contributions with an eye towards enabling a successful transition, he observed.

Tellis said time has come for the United States to seriously implement its long-professed intention of building up India’s defence capabilities.

“Because there are no fundamental conflicts of interest between India and America, aiding Indian defence programmes and defence industrialisation efforts remains in Washington’s self-interest no matter what the differences in tactics or styles may be between the two states,” he argued.

During its second term, the Obama administration ought to pursue specific initiatives to take US-India defence relations to the next level, Tellis said.

“These efforts should focus on direct defence-industrial collaboration, since military-to-military relations and defence sales have already done very well. Current initiatives in both areas should nonetheless be expanded because raising the operational proficiency of the Indian military and expanding India’s inventory of US defence equipment serve American interests,” Tellis said.

The top American foreign policy expert said that the United States should encourage the Indian state to accelerate the economic reforms required to raise the country’s growth rates to the highest levels witnessed during the last decade.

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Published on November 30, 2012
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