Washington: Two former Bush administration officials have made a forceful plea to U.S. policymakers not to give up on India amid its "political dysfunction and slowing economic growth", saying "the logic underlying U.S.-India relations remains sound."
"Was this bet misguided?" asked Fontaine, president of the Centre for a New American Security, and Twining, a senior fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, who both worked in senior positions at the State Department during the Bush administration.
"We don't think so," they said acknowledging "the short-run challenges to Indian power and progress in the relationship are daunting, and realism about the pace of both is in order."
"But the pursuit of a closer partnership with India has always represented a rarity in U.S. foreign policy: a long-term calculation of strategic interest, rooted in a foundation of shared values," said Fontaine and Twining asserting, "The logic underlying U.S.-India relations remains sound."
"It is easy to see why pessimists are riled," they said noting "a number of initiatives (had) stalled on the Indian side. Key defence agreements have gone unsigned, and the long-awaited civilian nuclear cooperation agreement has run afoul of India's anomalous liability law."
"A longer-term perspective, however, reveals a different picture," Fontaine and Twining said citing a forthcoming U.S. National Intelligence Council report which projects that, by 2030, "India will be the rising economic powerhouse that China is seen to be today."
"The success of U.S. and Indian policy over the past 12 years lay in creating, for the new century, a transformed basis for relations between the world's largest democracies," they said.
It was hoped that "the complementarities between the high-tech U.S. economy and India's rich human capital would spur growth in both countries" and "India would secure as a sponsor for its rise and development the international system's predominant power."
"This seemed like a good bargain - and it remains one," Fontaine and Twining asserted.