Atlantic Council Board Member Nicholas Burns writes for the Washington Post on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington this week:
When the new Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, visits the White House this week, President Obama should seize the opportunity to revive and rebuild an important relationship with a key Asian partner that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
In strategic terms, there are few countries more important to Washington than India, the dominant power in the Indian Ocean region and, with Japan, the most important U.S. partner in Asia seeking to limit Chinese assertiveness in the region. But, from the start of the Obama administration, India has never been a top priority and the long-term U.S. project to cement a strategic future with India is currently adrift. To be fair, Obama has had a multitude of critical short-term crises — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Russia — to contend with. But overlooking India has had a price. Seeming U.S. indifference and an Indian government under former prime minister Manmohan Singh in domestic gridlock combined to put the two countries at odds on global trade, climate change, Iran and Russia.