Getting on with the zigzag path
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Reaffirming their nations' shared values and increasing convergence of interests, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama resolved today in New Delhi to expand and strengthen the India-US global strategic partnership.
November 8, 2010
President Obama's trip to India in November 2010 marked the culmination of a whirlwind of activity in US-India relations over the past half-decade. Beginning in 2005, the two countries initiated a deal on civil nuclear cooperation, signed a 10-year defence framework agreement, launched the ministerial level Strategic Dialogue, and came into alignment on India's long-standing request for US support for its bid to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. A growing economic and trade relationship, as well as expanding military ties where India now conducts more exercises with the US than any other country, have complemented these landmark achievements.
While President Obama's visit was well received in India, it may also represent the high point for bilateral relations in the near term. The reality is that over the past six months the bilateral relationship has shifted from big initiatives and centrestage to more routine interactions and schedule interruptions. While several summit follow-up meetings have taken place, including visits to India by outgoing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and, most recently, Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, other meetings and policy activities have been pushed back due to the exigencies of both sides. The one initiative that could have provided the next big boost in the relationship — India's tender for 126 new jet fighters — did not. India chose two European entrants as the finalists in this $10-12 billion competition, a deep disappointment to both the US government and defence industry. This disappointment, however, may have been mitigated a bit this week with reports that the Cabinet Committee on Security approved the purchase of 10 Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft worth $4.1 billion.
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