The Indian financial newspaper, Business Standard, has published my latest “DC Diary” column. With President Obama landing in New Delhi this week, it seemed like a good time to ask why Washington and New Delhi remain so burdened, even imprisoned, by continental preoccupations.
To Americans, India can be a real jumble of contradictions. It is a maritime nation—strategically situated near key chokepoints—but with a continental strategic tradition. It is a nation of illustrious mercantile traditions but for decades walled off large swaths of its economy.
Much has changed, principally because rapid economic growth has allowed India to break from the confining shackles of South Asia. India is again an Asian player, better integrated into the East Asian economic system. And it has a growing capacity to influence the wider Asian balance of power.
So, here’s my question: Given all that change, why are the U.S. and India so bogged down in (and over) continental Asia?