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Why PM believes in the resurgence of American power

March 18, 2011 15:08 IST

Noted strategic affairs expert Ashley Tellis, who was actively involved in negotiating the India-United States civilian nuclear agreement while serving in the George W Bush administration, has said the US is indispensable for the success of all of India's endeavours.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is fully cognisant of this reality and this explains his unshakeable commitment to the India-US strategic partnership, he said.
The Mumbai-born Tellis, currently a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, was a panelist at a conference titled 'The Rise of India: What it Means for the United States' hosted by the Washington, DC-based neo-conservative think tank The American Enterprise Institute.

"A geopolitical tranquility remains a critical pre-condition for the success of India's experiment and that geopolitical tranquility arises in the main from the sustenance of American power," he said.
"And, among the many countries in Asia, India has been singularly a strong believer, first, that American has not disappeared off the geopolitical horizon. This prime minister (Manmohan Singh), more than many others, has been more confident sometimes about the resurgence of American power than we have been occasionally in our own country," Tellis said.
He explained Dr Singh's confidence in the resurgence of American power as attributable to "a very simple reason. He knows that this tranquility, which is necessary for India, is anchored in American capabilities and he would prefer to see those capabilities stay around for a while longer -- at least until such time India can protect itself by itself independently, autonomously."
"That moment has not yet arrived and so the United States is critical to India," he said, and reiterated, "It is critical because American power produces the tranquility in Asia that is necessary for India's success. It is critical because American resources are essential, especially technology, especially capital, especially managerial expertise."
Tellis declared, "Finally, it is critical because American support is essential for the success of all of India's endeavours."
"And so the United States plays a singular role in India's geopolitics, which is simply not replicated in India's relationships with any other state," he added.
Tellis also argued that because India's relationships with Pakistan and China will not be "relations of friendliness", New Delhi's "reliance on the United States to sustain both the Pakistani and the Chinese end, from in a sense coming apart, becomes extremely important to New Delhi."
"There is an eminent compatibility even if there is not always congruence between Indian interests and American interests, particularly in Asia," he said.

"That compatibility derives from a simple proposition that the United States wants what India needs -- which is essentially an open Asian order, which will not be threatened by any regional hegemony that either overawes the region or prevents other states from enjoying access to Asia's productive economic machine," Tellis said.

Aziz Haniffa in Washington DC