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Missed opportunities: the United States and Indian strategic relationship following the Cold War

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The monograph analyzes the strategic relationship between the United States and India. The purpose of this monograph is to examine why the relationship between the United States and India did not strengthen more rapidly following the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are four main reasons the United States and India have not developed a stronger strategic partnership since the end of the Cold War. First, the United States supported the expansion of liberal democracy globally and acted to prevent catastrophe in less strategically significant regions throughout the last three decades. These actions diverted attention from strengthening functioning, developing democracies, such as India, and enabling their growth into reliable and powerful allies. Second, on the occasions when executive leadership focused on the US and Indian relationship, domestic politics consistently hindered the progress that was possible in US and Indian foreign policy. Third, regardless of the reason, US financial and military support to Pakistan stunted the growth of a strong partnership with India. Finally, Chinas growth as an economic and military power forces both India and the United States to hedge their actions relative to China in order to protect their economic interests. India and the United States fear that too strong of an overt partnership may provoke China and precipitate an aggressive Chinese response. The conclusion makes three recommendations on how the United States and India can act to form a closer strategic partnership. In short, the United States should continue to pursue and expand multilateral military exercises and partnerships, maintain bilateral consistency with India, and invest greater resources into the relationship with India.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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