U.S., India share long-term interests

My article – co-authored with Daniel Kliman – appeared in Politico on June 12, 2012. An excerpt is included below.

On democracy and human rights, too, India is proving a more willing partner than some of its high-profile positions might suggest. It has supported and constructively engaged the democratically elected leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Burma, Nepal and the Maldives. India’s preferred methods — building domestic capacity and aiding political transitions — mesh well with U.S. efforts for democracy promotion.

Beyond its immediate neighborhood, India recently cast its vote with the U.S. — and against China and Russia — on Syria at the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Personal ties are also key to shaping the relationship. Indian-Americans are the most affluent U.S. ethnic group — and increasingly active in local, national and international politics. It’s largely thanks to their example that the U.S. has retained its overwhelming popularity in India — even as anti-American sentiment has peaked in other countries.

Opinion surveys also indicate that India is one of the few countries whose people still view the United States as the greatest land of opportunity. Polls show that the U.S. public’s opinion of India is also favorable — positive views of India recorded a new high this year.

The fundamentals of the U.S.-India relationship are still as sound as before Bill Clinton traveled to India in 2000 or George W. Bush in 2006. These landmark visits lifted relations to new heights.
Policymakers in both countries should be wary about letting short-term setbacks color long-term ties. Given their combined weight in the international system and their shared values, the United States and India are bound to decisively shape the 21st century.