Renewing AmericaRenewing America

Op-Ed

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Continental and Maritime in U.S.-India Ties

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum
November 1, 2010
Business Standard

Share

Two worlds--continental and maritime--have intermingled and collided throughout the history of Asia. For a thousand years, Asia was deeply interconnected. Goods, capital, technologies, ideas and religions moved across Silk Road caravan routes and over well-trafficked Asian sea-lanes.

But between the 16th and 18th centuries, Asia fragmented. Maritime trade swamped continental trade. And many of India's traditional roles in Asia were subsumed within the British Empire.

To American strategists, today's India is a jumble of contradictions. India is a maritime nation--strategically situated near key chokepoints--but with a continental strategic tradition. India is a nation of illustrious mercantile traditions but for decades walled off large swaths of its economy.

Much has changed, largely because India's rapid economic growth has allowed it to break from the confining shackles of South Asia. India is again an Asian player, better integrated into the East Asian economic system and with a growing capacity to influence the balance of power.

So, as US President Barack Obama arrives in India this week, it's worth asking this question about US-India relations: If so much has changed, why do Washington and New Delhi remain burdened, even imprisoned, by continental preoccupations?

At one level, this is unavoidable. Indeed, viewed from an Indian perspective, it is understandable. After all, Pakistan's choices complicate American policies. And elements of Washington's partnership with Islamabad complicate Indian policies too.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Op-Ed
Renewing America

Renewing America

A More Global Partnership?

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum
Business Standard

Evan Feigenbaum asks, "Why is America's dialogue with India less global in scope than with any major power, even China?"

Expert Brief

Obama's India Problem

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum

The U.S.-India relationship is troublingly adrift over disagreements on U.S. "AfPak" policy and logjams on expanding trade, says CFR's Evan...

Expert Brief

Clinton's Challenge in India

Author: Evan A. Feigenbaum

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to India with an opportunity to further improve a relationship that has been transformed over the...