Reflections on U.S.-India Relations
In a talk at the Elliott School's Sigur
Center for Asian Studies on March 12, 2008, Indian Ambassador to the
United States Ronen Sen said the Indian-U.S. relationship is developing at
an "unprecedented pace." The talk, part of the Center's
India Initiative, also featured respondents who reflected on the views of
Democrats and Republicans on U.S.-Indian relations.
Amb. Sen, whose post was recently extended for another year, said both countries
cooperate in a variety of areas from civil nuclear energy to HIV/AIDS to economic
activity. He added that each presidential candidate, regardless of his or her
party, supports a relationship with India, which was not true several years
ago. This statement framed the discussion following Amb. Sen's talk,
which included responses from Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, and Amb.
Both respondents agreed on several points, including the importance of granting
permanent membership to India in the United Nations Security Council.
Inderfurth and Tellis also underscored the significance of the two countries' economic
Tellis, a foreign policy advisor to Sen. John McCain's campaign, said
a robust India is not only good for the United States, but for the entire world. " India
matters, because it is large and important in its own right," he said,
adding that Washington views India as "a mature, democratic state," rather
than a convenient ally to facilitate containing China.
Amb. Inderfurth, who served as assistant secretary of state for South Asian
affairs in former President Bill Clinton's administration, agreed with
Tellis about the prospects for a "power triangle" that would see
the United States allying with India to combat a rising China.
"There are other ways to deal with China," he said, including
inviting both China and India to join the G8, thus creating the G10.
Like Tellis, Inderfurth echoed several areas where India and the United States
share values and goals, adding that education was one of the areas where further
cooperation can add "more context to our relationship."
Tellis added that the United States and India both have a stake in addressing "the
rise of radical movements." India, the world's most populous democracy,
has long witnessed violence based on extremist and separatist movements.
"That future is only ours to lose," said Tellis of Indian-U.S.
relations, adding that an unsuccessful relationship would be due to a lack
of imagination. "There will be no other explanation for failure."
The India Initiative aims to place the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the
forefront of scholarship and analysis of U.S.-India relations and U.S. foreign
policy on the subcontinent, said Deepa
Ollapally, associate director of the Sigur Center. "It can also help
shape future policy, whether the Democrats or the Republicans come to power."
Ollapally added that the Sigur Center will launch or expand a broad range
of high level conferences, policy dialogues, student scholarships, visiting
fellowships, new courses, specialized lecture series, and a professorship in
India studies under the India Initiative. "We believe that the Center's
well-known programs on China, Japan, and Korea will provide an ideal framework
for studying contemporary India in Asia, and on the global stage," she
Amb. Sen's remarks were covered widely in the media, including
stories in The
Washington Times, The
Hindu, Mangalorean, Thaindian
News, and The
Back to top