Ashley J. Tellis
Ashley J. Tellis holds the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs and is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in international security and U.S. foreign and defense policy with a special focus on Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
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If there is any single proof of the transformation of US -Indian relations since 2001, burgeoning defence ties would stand out as ‘Exhibit A.’ Since the trying moments after the 1998 Indian nuclear tests — when Indian strategic entities became targets of US sanctions, when Indian weapons systems of US origin lay non-operational because spare parts were denied, and when US -Indian defence trade was minuscule — the flood of interactions that have now become commonplace mark defence cooperation as the cornerstone of the steadily strengthening bilateral relationship.

At one level, this metamorphosis should not be surprising. Both the United States and India face common threats: Islamist terrorism, rising Chinese power, continued nuclear proliferation, and new dangers in the global commons. But despite these persistent perils, it required a civil nuclear agreement to dramatically seal the evolving strategic collaboration between Washington and New Delhi. The 18 July 2005 joint statement issued by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did just that: by signalling that the United States would now treat India as a valued geopolitical partner rather than as a singular target of its nonproliferation policy, Bush (and, his successor, Barack Obama) declared— to the consternation of many— that the United States was serious about building a new relationship with India....

The full text of this article was originally published in Force.

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