Time is right for push on U.S.-India ties, says Asia Society Policy Institute Paper

The U.S. strategic partnership with India provides an opportunity to advance many of the key foreign policy objectives of the Donald Trump administration, according to a new issue paper published by the Asia Society Policy Institute.

“The convergence of U.S. and Indian security interests and policies, together with parallel ‘America First’ and ‘India First’ economic policies, holds potential benefits for both nations,” Dr. Marshall M. Bouton, Senior Fellow for India at the Asia Society Policy Institute, writes in the paper.

The issue paper posits that President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both highly-nationalistand pro-business, are likely to find common ground. Additionally, “strong bipartisan support in Congress for U.S.-India ties and official optimism in India about relations with the United States under the Trump administration argue for seizing the opportunity decisively.”

The issue paper urges the Trump administration to move rapidly on five fronts: Develop with Prime Minister Modi a common strategic view of the U.S.-India relationship, especially as it relates to shared interests in China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; Make India a clear strategic and diplomatic priority; Demonstrate American commitment to India’s expanding role in Asia; Develop new avenues for U.S.-India cooperation on defense and security; Manage economic relations, especially on trade and immigration issues, positively while looking for ways to expand ties.

“Among the major countries that seek the administration’s attention, India stands out for the opportunities it offers to advance U.S. objectives,” Bouton writes. “The two nations’ security interests are increasingly aligned. Their economic interests could be an obstacle to closer partnership but, with careful management and imaginative leadership, could become a new frontier in the relationship.”.

For 60 years, the Asia Society has sought to explain the diversity of Asia to the United States and the complexity of the United States to Asia, and to be a bridge in problem-solving within the region and between Asia and the wider world. With a problem-solving mandate, the Asia Society Policy Institute builds on this mission by tackling major policy challenges confronting the Asia-Pacific in security, prosperity, sustainability, and the development of common norms and values for the region.

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