Washington: Seven out of 10 Americans say what happens in China is vitally important to the US, while for India is it just three out of 10, the latest Gallup opinion poll has said.
As a result, China is placed on the top of the list of 12 countries, and India at the bottom, while Afghanistan 6th, Pakistan 8th and Egypt 9th.
Russia, the other super power of the Cold War years, is ranked a spot ahead of India. Gallup had asked Americans to rate the importance of countries in this way in February 2007 also.
Americans` views of Iraq`s importance have shown the greatest change over the last four years, dropping to 52 percent "vitally important" today from 70 percent in 2007, when Iraq topped the list.
At that time, US president George W Bush had just announced his "surge" strategy in Iraq in response to deteriorating conditions there, and his party had suffered significant losses in the 2006 midterm elections, partly as a result of the debate over Iraq.
Now, with American combat troops withdrawn from that country and attention shifted to Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world, Iraq has slipped to 5th place, Gallup said.
In 2007, India was again ranked last in the list of 12 countries, but at that time only 28 percent of the Americans considered India as a vitally important country, as against 31 percent now.
"Americans` views that events in China are vitally important to the US have increased by 12 percentage points since 2007, putting China where Iraq was four years ago," it said, adding the importance of China in the average American`s eyes likely reflects continuing awareness of the economic influence of China on the US and world economies.