K. Alan Kronstadt, Coordinator Specialist in South Asian Affairs Paul K. Kerr Analyst in Nonproliferation Michael F. Martin Specialist in Asian Affairs Bruce Vaughn Specialist in Asian Affairs September 1, 2011
Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RL33529
CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
India: Domestic Issues, Strategic Dynamics, and U.S. Relations
South Asia emerged in the 21st century as increasingly vital to core U.S. foreign policy interests. India, the region’s dominant actor with more than one billion citizens, is often characterized as a nascent great power and “indispensable partner” of the United States, one that many analysts view as a potential counterweight to China’s growing clout. Since 2004, Washington and New Delhi have been pursuing a “strategic partnership” based on shared values and apparently convergent geopolitical interests. Numerous economic, security, and global initiatives, including plans for civilian nuclear cooperation, are underway. This latter initiative—first launched in 2005 and codified in U.S. law in 2008—reversed three decades of U.S. nonproliferation policy, but has not been implemented to date. Also in 2005, the United States and India signed a ten-year defense framework agreement to expanding bilateral security cooperation. The two countries now engage in numerous and unprecedented combined military exercises, and major U.S. arms sales to India are underway. The value of all bilateral trade tripled from 2004 to 2008 and continues to grow; significant two-way investment also flourishes. The influence of a large, relatively wealthy, and increasingly influential Indian-American community is reflected in Congress’s largest countryspecific caucus. More than 100,000 Indian students are attending American universities. Further U.S. attention on South Asia focuses on ongoing, historically rooted... [continues]
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