Modi, turnaround artist: U.S.-India ties revived after slump

(From the Council on Foreign Relations)

By Alyssa Ayres

May 26 marks the completion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first full year in office. Indian and international media have used the anniversary to take stock. In India, Modi has generally gotten high marks for foreign policy but some notches below that for slower than expected economic reform. The Economist devoted its cover this week to Modi (“India’s One-Man Band”) and urged more dramatic action to transform India lest the window of opportunity close.

But in all the retrospection, few analyses have addressed India’s relationship with the United States in any detail. Perhaps that’s why the opposition Congress party’s former information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari had this to say on a popular talk show, The Big Fight:

“There is no rejuvenation of the relationship with the United States of America. You’ve not taken it to the next level, for example the NSG or the NPT…there is no energy to that relationship.” [segment begins at 19:18]

This simply does not hold true, and the portrayal hurts efforts to insulate the U.S.-India relationship from the vagaries of political change. The facts bear out that Modi, defying expectations, has approached Washington pragmatically and in the process recovered momentum for a relationship that had hit rocky shoals during late 2013 and early 2014. Are there initiatives moving slowly, or areas that still need work? Of course. But Modi deserves credit for the turnaround in ties undertaken on his watch—especially in tone, tempo, and trajectory. Read more



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