Lisa Curtis argues that as the competition between China and India for political and economic influence heats up, the U.S. should encourage India to play a more active role in the region.
With the completion of the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement earlier this year, Washington's ties with New Delhi stand on the threshold of great promise. China's attempt to scuttle the agreement at the September 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting was evidence for many Indians that China does not willingly accept India's rise on the world stage, nor the prospect of closer U.S.-India ties.
As the relationship between the world's oldest and the world's largest democracies develops, Washington will need to pay close attention to the dynamics of the India-China relationship. The future direction of relations between China and India, two booming economies that together account for one-third of the world's population, will be a major factor in determining broader political and economic trends in Asia directly affecting U.S. interests.