Washington: Pinning hopes on Narendra Modi to give a new elan to "disillusioned and rudderless" Indo-US ties, two influential American foreign policy experts have said his leadersip offers a chance to recast the bilateral relationship in a "more realist mode".
Narendra Modi`s election victory has raised hopes that he and the BJP can "revive India`s sputtering economy and give new elan to a disillusioned and rudderless US-India relationship," James C Clad and Robert A Manning said in an article in the Foreign Policy magazine.
"The Modi era may offer a chance to recast US-India ties in more realist mode. To the degree Modi succeeds in re-energizing India`s economy (as he has done impressively as chief minister of Gujarat), he will give substance, and not hot air, to a deeper US-India partnership," the article said.
"Perhaps the foundering efforts at a bilateral investment treaty, or even the prospect that India may eventually join the trans-Pacific Partnership, could shape a realistic, forward-looking bilateral agenda," it said.
The two foreign policy experts said Modi`s success will depend on how effectively he empowers the private sector and how he implements the next belated phase of market-centered reforms.
Observing that since 1991, the bilateral ties have gone through many "stop-and-go cycles", they wrote "with Modi in place, the boom part of the cycle is about to start again."
"A BJP-dominated central government, led by a proven Thatcher-like and market-oriented Hindu conservative, is likely to prompt another cascade of hype, aided by an enthusiastic new generation of Indian-Americans," the article said.
The foreign policy experts noted that only a few years prior, India and China, were spoken in the same breath as the rising BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) powers reshaping the world but it was not so anymore more.
"India now appears anemic, left in the dust by a China with a GDP and military budget four times larger and, most telling of all, by Beijing`s strategic focus and assertiveness," said Clad, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asia, and Manning, a senior fellow of the Brent Scowcroft Centre for International Security at the Atlantic Council.
"In the West, new generations have been `discovering` Asia ever since the spice trade. In recent years, few phenomena have been as recurrently fashionable as the belief that the United States and India are `natural partners`, with India holding a special place in US foreign policy priorities," they said.
The article said that the linkages between the US and India remain more aspirational than accomplished, with many unfulfilled expectations.