Assessments

India Inches Closer to the U.S.

Sep 6, 2018 | 19:22 GMT
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj before the 2+2 meeting in New Delhi on Sept. 6.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj before the 2+2 meeting in New Delhi on Sept. 6. India is trying to balance its relations with a number of countries, including the United States.

(PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

As China assumes the mantle of most powerful nation in the Eastern Hemisphere, its neighboring rival, India, is turning to the United States for help. New Delhi and Washington are strengthening their defense partnership as part of a broader effort to maintain the balance of power against China, both on the Eurasian landmass and in the Indo-Pacific. After two false starts, their 2+2 dialogue meeting on Sept. 6 -- featuring U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis and their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman -- offered a high-level format for both countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the relationship. India's insistence on maximizing its strategic autonomy means the relationship will not evolve as swiftly as the United States would like. But New Delhi's need to compensate for its military imbalance against China means that India will bolster the partnership nevertheless, implying...

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