As India settles into an extended military standoff with China in the Himalayas, it can’t afford to take its eyes off Beijing’s maritime forays in the Indian Ocean.
While India’s current approach is focused on connectivity and friendly delivery, one should not forget that its geostrategic and democratic concerns about Sri Lanka can often induct a sudden policy shift.
In 1990, India conducted the world’s largest civilian airlift to evacuate more than 100,000 members of the Indian diaspora from Kuwait during the Gulf War. In 2016, the Hindi film “Airlift” depicted the evacuation operations.
The uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration has created a space for India to take more of a lead in the region.
Keeping India’s policy on an even keel will take constant work and will require periodic “wins” for Trump to feel that his—and American—interests benefit from this relationship.
While several strategic factors and past investments will sustain the U.S.-India relationship in the short-term, the current path points in the direction of a plateau.
India is poised to help provide satellite-based services to neighboring countries in an effort to improve connectivity and cooperation in a region marked by security tensions.
India today has a serious chance to transform its navy from a reactive to a proactive one.
Despite the current uncertainty surrounding bilateral ties, India ought to approach the United States with confidence, assured that the evolving competition in Asia makes a strong partnership between Washington and New Delhi destined for success.
When Trump and Modi meet for the first time, they will likely focus on defense deals. They may also discuss areas of mutual interest, including trade, investment, and counterterrorism.