Washington: With the India-US civil nuclear deal removing the biggest obstacle in their relationship, a US think tank has said their concerted cooperation could help India's global rise and provide a rich opportunity for US businesses.
"The 2008 US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement did away with the biggest obstacle in the relationship-India's murky status in the global non-proliferation regime," the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a new report.
"The evolving US-Indian strategic partnership holds great potential for both countries," says the report "Opportunities Unbound: Sustaining the Transformation in US-Indian Relations" by Ashley J. Tellis, senior associate South Asia Programme.
"India's economic growth and its ties to the US can assist its global rise, which contributes to keeping the peace in Asia, provided New Delhi and Washington sustain concerted cooperation," he writes.
"And India's emerging markets promise to be the key instrument for enlarging India's power while remaining a rich opportunity for US businesses," writes Tellis suggesting several steps for both sides to make the partnership fruitful.
His recommendations for India include expanding the basis for collaboration by undertaking planned second-generation economic reforms and doing away with archaic protectionist policies and openly embracing economic reforms.
New Delhi should also encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) by opening "those sectors where FDI is currently not permitted and increase the caps on FDI in those areas where it is currently allowed".
To improve defence cooperation, "India ought to take advantage of the wealth of technologies available only to Washington's closest partners and establish greater operational ties with the US to boost its military effectiveness without forfeiting strategic autonomy," writes Tellis.
"As one of Iran's biggest trading partners, New Delhi should quietly urge Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons programme in order to avert a conflict that threatens important Indian interests," he suggests.
At the top of Tellis' recommendations for the US is exploring a free-trade agreement with India.
"Washington should pursue such an accord on a specified deadline while negotiating various arrangements to lower bilateral trade barriers in the interim," he suggests.
Favouring sustained leadership attention, Tellis says: "Even if New Delhi does not reciprocate every US initiative and retains its traditionally independent foreign policy, the US should devote senior leadership attention and create effective bureaucratic arrangements to expand the relationship with India."
In seeking a deeper partnership on Afghanistan, "Washington should encourage the Indian government to increase its political and material contributions to the effort in Afghanistan," he says.
Tellis also advocates building up India's defence capabilities saying: "Adding to a strong foundation of military-to-military cooperation, Washington should make it easier for India to purchase advanced American defence technology and cement defence industrial cooperation."