The United States and India have transformed their relationship at a breathtaking pace since 1998, and grown it into a wide-ranging strategic partnership.
More recently, as substantive accomplishments have failed to materialize, criticism has begun in the U.S., directed towards India, accused of not doing enough, of not stepping up to the plate.Such a situation was, however, highly predictable, given India’s strategic posture and foreign policy behavior.
As the U.S. re-balances its global engagements to acknowledge the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region, it is crucial to understand India’s stance to recalibrate expectations and further strengthen the Indo-American partnership based on a realistic identification of short- and long-term objectives.
This is particularly true for the Indian Ocean region, where India has already begun to assert a more pronounced presence, and where the U.S. would like to see India become a “net security provider.” Indeed, the vast Indian Ocean is rapidly becoming more prominent in strategists’ thinking, amidst rapid changes affecting its dynamics, with some in the U.S. advocating for an integrated “Indo-Pacific” approach.
How then, does India perceive the Indian Ocean region, and what forms of cooperation might it be willing to pursue with the United States and its allies and partners?